|Intermittent Explosive Disorder|
How did the once hallowed school grounds metastasize into the killing fields for the bullied and the disenfranchised? Why is teen alienation at an all-time high? Why are children worldwide using guns to terrorise their friends and schoolmates?
With 12 instances of high school massacres over the past five ears, experts and psychologist are trying to explain the reasons behind this emerging phenomenon. In fact, they have coined a new term to classify this kind of schoolyard behavior: Intermittent Explosive Disorder. All occurences of IED seem to have taken place in predominantly white, semi-rural, middle-class school districts where the kids have easy access high-powered weapons and there is no history of violent crime.
|Campbell County Comprehensive High School|
November 8, 2005 - A 15-year-old boy went to his school in Jacksboro, Tennesseee, carrying a .22-caliber handgun and fired at three adults, killing an assistant principal and wounding two other school officials.
District Attorney Paul Phillips asked a juvenile court judge from outside Campbell County, where the shooting occurred, to rule on whether the case should be transferred to circuit court and the juvenile be tried as an adult.
Principal Gary Seale was shot in the abdomen while trying to wrestle the gun from the student and Assistant Principal Jim Pierce was hit in the chest, authorities said. Both were in serious condition in intensive care at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, spokeswoman Lisa McNeal said. No students were hurt in the shooting at Campbell County Comprehensive High School.
The administrators and a teacher helped disarm the student, deputies said. Assistant Principal Ken Bruce was shot in the chest and died at a LaFollette hospital, authorities said. Despite his injury, Seale managed to get to the intercom and order a lockdown, helping to end the rampage, authorities said.
The suspect was taken to a juvenile detention facility, Sheriff Ron McClellan said. Authorities said he was grazed on the hand by a bullet from his handgun while he was being subdued. The boy's family declined to comment.
"He has been in trouble before, but I just wouldn't expect something like this out of him," said classmate Courtney Ward, 17. "He is a big jokester. He is rowdy. But I just couldn't see him doing this."
The shooting marked the second time this year that a school employee was fatally shot. Stewart County school bus driver Joyce Gregory, 47, was killed as she stopped to pick up a student on her route on March 1. Jason Clinard, 15, is charged with her slaying and will be tried as an adult.
In August, a boy was accidentally shot in the leg in a middle school restroom in Jefferson County. The investigation led to charges against two students accused in a plot to kill a teacher at Maury Middle School.
|Grover Cleveland Elementary School|
On January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed two people and wounded nine when she fired from her house across the street onto the entrance of San Diego's Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a .22-caliber rifle her father gave her for Christmas. The two victims were Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar were killed. Eight students and a police officer were wounded. Spencer, the original school rampager, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two 25 years to life in prison. When asked why she did it, she said the often quoted: "I just don't like Mondays." At the time she also told negociators, "It was a lot of fun seeing children shot."
Brenda -- who suffers from epylepsy and depression -- said at a parole hearing in April 2001 that she felt responsible for the many school shootings that have followed her 1979 sniper attack. "I know saying I'm sorry doesn't make it all right," she said, adding that she wished it had never happened. But she added, "With every school shooting, I feel I'm partially responsible. What if they got their idea from what I did?"
Spencer claimed her violence grew out of an abusive home life in which her father beat and sexually abused her for years. "I've never talked about it before," she said. "I had to share my dad's bed 'til I was 14 years old." Her father, Wallace Spencer, has never spoken publicly about the case. Brenda, now 36, told the parole board the rifle was a Christmas present from her father. "I had asked for a radio and he bought me a gun," she said. Asked if she knew why he did that, she said, "I felt like he wanted me to kill myself." She also said she thought she had shot at the school in the hope that police would kill her at the end of the siege. "I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought If I shot at the cops they would shoot me," she said.
San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs, who prosecuted Spencer, said her crime remains "unthinkable" and he posed his own theory of why she did it. "She probably was and still is a miserable person through and through," Sachs said. "But her way of dealing with the misery was to spread it around." Sachs noted that after the recent breakup of a relationship between Spencer and another woman in prison, she heated a paper clip and used it to carve onto her chest the words "courage" and "pride." Spencer said it was just a tattoo, but Sachs said it showed an inability to deal with stress and an inclination to act out anger.
|Frontier Junior High School|
On September 2, 1996, Barry Loukaitis, a 14-year-old honor student in Moses Lake, Washington, broke into algebra class wearing a long duster concealing two pistols, seventy-eight rounds of ammunition and high-powered rifle under it. His first shot 14-year-old Manuel Vela. Another classmate to a bullet to his chest, and then Loukaitis shot his teacher in the back as she was writing a problem on the blackboard. A 13-year-old girl took the fourth bullet in her arm. Two of the students and the teacher died. The third student was left hospitalized in serious condition shot in the abdomen and right arm. Then Loukaitis took hostages, allowing the wounded to be removed, but was stymied by Jon Lane, a physical education teacher and champion wrestler, who burst into the classroom, disarmed the boy and held him until police arrived. It seems that Barry and Manuel Vela, were always exchanging words. "I guess he finally got sick of it," said fellow-student Walter Darden. Loukaitis blamed his act on "mood swings." A classmate claimed that Loukaitis had thought it would be "fun" to go on a killing spree.
During his trial JoAnn Phillips, Barry's mother, told the jury her son was driven to massacre his classmates by the Pearl Jam song, "Jeremy." The song portrays a maligned teenager who takes out his angst on his classmates by shooting them. The video shows the boy massacring his classmates while Eddie Vedder sings "Jeremy spoke in class today." Not laying the blame squarely on Eddie and the band, Phillips also conceded that her family had a history of depressive illness, which stretched back for four generations. Terry Loukaitis, the Barry's father, said he was burdened with three generations' worth of depressive illnesses in his family.
JoAnn also told the jury that she treated her son as a confidant and told him everything, including plans to kill herself in front of her ex-husband and his new girlfriend on Valentine's Day, 1996. She said her son tried to encourage her not to do it and to channel her energies into writing about it.
In court, John Petrich, a psychiatrist for the defense, testified that Barry experienced delusional, godlike feelings before his deadly rampage. "He felt like God and would laugh to himself... He felt he was superior to other kids . . . and then (his feelings of superiority) were replaced" by hate, disdain and a sense of not measuring up...He was under the influence of his psychosis and it was distorting his thinking, twisting his thinking," and was unable to determine right from wrong at the time of the killings.
Petrich attributed Loukaitis' feeling of not belonging to his relationship with his parents, specifically, his mother's influence. "He was deprived of the opportunity to identify with his father... His mother dominated him . . . His identity was so much linked to his mother's (identity which) was on the ragged edge" and filled with suicidal thoughts.
Prosecutors said Loukaitis planned the shootings carefully, getting ideas from the book "Rage," written by King under a pseudonym, and the movie "Natural Born Killers." In the book, a high school student takes a gun to school and fatally shoots two teachers. In a tape-recorded confession to police the day of the attack, the boy said that after he shot Vela, the "reflex took over."
On September 24, 1997, Barry -- now 16 -- was convicted on all charges. Some victims' relatives wept. Others hugged. "Either verdict would have been a tragedy," said Alice Fritz, mother of victim Arnold Fritz. "There's no happy ending here."
|Pearl High School|
On October 1, 1997, Luke opened fire on a bunch of schoolmates in Pearl High School, killing two and wounding seven. Luke, a sophomore, started the day by slitting his mother's throat before heading to school in her car with a rifle tucked under his trench coat. Witnesses said he walked into a crowded atrium with hundreds of students milling about and started blasting "anybody he could find." Woodham talked to at least one of the wounded. "He apologized, said he was sorry and was not shooting anybody in particular."
"I wasn't aiming at anyone," said Luke Woodham, in a tape-recorded confession played at his trial in Hattiesburg, Miss. "It was like I was there, and I wasn't there." The chubby sophomore who excelled in art, was fleeing when an assistant principal rammed his car into Woodham's mother's vehicle to stop him. Choking back tears, Police Chief Bill Slade said Woodham had written a detailed note saying how "he felt he'd been wronged... I am not insane. I am angry... I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society push us and we will push back... Murder is not weak and slow-witted, murder is gutsy and daring."
The Moses Lake assailant used to play at home with his family guns as if they were toys, friends testified in court. Barry Loukaitis said he took two of his father's guns from an unlocked cabinet, and a third one -- a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol -- from a family car. Within a week of the killings authorities in Pearl uncovered a gang of teenage "nerds" who might be implicated in Luke's deadly school rampage. Five of Woodham's schoolmates and a community college student had formed a demonic cult known as "Kroth" and had plotted the violence with enthusiasm. The group considered themselves societal misfits, always beaten, always hated. Members of the gang were all intellectuals who were fond of the writings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzche and the occult.
Grant Boyette and Justin Sledge -- two members of the Kroth -- pleaded innocent to allegations that they pushed Luke Woodham to rampage through Pearl High. Investigators believe the small group of teens plotted an elaborate assault on their high school, and Luke was chosen as the assassin. The indictment against the six teens alleges that Boyette and Sledge met several times with Woodham to convince him "that murder was a viable means of accomplishing the purposes and goals of the shared belief system."
Trying to diffuse the situation, a school official said: "There's all kinds of rumors flying around. There are some things in this that could be considered satanic, but to jump out there to say it is satanic, that they are devil-worshippers, is jumping to conclusions."
Authorities believe the gang modelled themselves after the "vengeful nerd" character played by Michael Douglas in the film Falling Down. Police confirmed that they have had reports that Woodham had been bullied at school, with classmates calling him "nerd" and knocking books from his hands.
One of the arrested, Donald Brooks, 17, was accused of conspiring to murder his father last spring, and a second boy, Grant Boyette, 18, was charged with conspiring with him. Brooks's father survived the plot, and said he tood by his son. Pearl Mayor Jimmy Foster said police had uncovered information accused Woodham of targeting his 17-year-old son, Kyle for the "shock value" of killing the son of a prominent local person.
The extent of Woodham's alienation was revealed through his writings released at a preliminary hearing for Grant Boyette, the alleged ringleader. In the text Woodham -- or as the sensationalist press likes to call him, "Satan's Hitman" -- described how he and an accomplice beat his dog, Sparkle, then set it on fire and threw it in a pond. "I'll never forget the sound of her breaking under my might. I hit her so hard I knocked the fur off her neck ... it was true beauty," he wrote.
Spelling out his plan, Woodham wrote in his journal: "I am not insane. I am angry. I am not spoiled or lazy, for murder is not weak and slow-witted, murder is gutsy and daring.... I killed because people like me are mistreated every day... I am malicious because I am miserable."
Boyette was charged with being the mastermind in Luke's high school shooting spree. Apparently living two completely separate lives -- a community college student and Baptist church member as well as a fervent fan of Hitler. Boyette's former Sunday school teacher described him as "courteous, engaging and sober." Others said he prayed to Satan for power and was able to conjure up to six different demons.
Investigators portrayed Boyette -- whom fellow Satanist called "father" -- plotted to take over the school and kill students and parents. According to authorities Grant lived by the motto: "We cannot move forward until all of our enemies are gone." Friends said he had changed in recent years and admitted "praying to Satan for money, for power, for influence" and once said "people would regret underestimating him and picking on him."
During his June, 1998, trial for matricide, Luke wept as he watched himself on video saying he killed his mother because "She always never loved me." According to the rampaging teen, his mother blamed him for her divorce and problems with his brother. He added she often spent nights away from home. "I didn't want to kill my mother. I do love my mother. I just wanted her to understand," said the misunderstood teenager. "It's real hard to live with the things I've done."
Luke claimed he was under the spell of "100,000 demons" conjured by Grant Boyette the morning he plunged a butcher knife into his mother. "I remember I woke up that morning and I'd seen demons that I always saw when Grant told me to do something. They said I was nothing and I would never be anything if I didn't get to that school and kill those people."
Woodham, who broke down in tears under intense questioning from prosecutors about whether he had killed his mother, said he recalled getting a knife and a pillow and walking to his mother's room. He said he could hear Boyette's voice in his head throughout the process."I just closed my eyes and fought with myself because I didn't want to do any of it. When I opened my eyes, my mother was lying in her bed." After a five-day trial, on June 5, 1998, Luke was sentenced to life in prison for stabbing and beating his mother to death. "I'm going to heaven now," said the handcuffed and shackled killer as he was led out of the courthouse.
During his trial for the shooting deaths of his two classmates, the nerd rampager rambled about seeing demons and sending them to plague others. Onmiously, he also warned that something related to his demons would be happening the next day in court. Woodham said that Grant Boyette, an older friend, confided that he worshipped Satan and asked him to join his group. Luke said he became a believer after he and Boyette cast a spell and a teen-ager they knew was run over by a car and killed the next day.
Woodham said he and Boyette became good friends in January 1997, after Boyette cast a spell from a satanic book. Woodham said he believed the spell led to a teen-ager being run over by a car and killed. "We started a satanic group and through the hate I had in my heart, I used it to try and get vengeance on people and do what he told me to do."
On June 13, 1998, Luke was found guilty of killing his two classmates. "I am sorry for the people I killed and the people I hurt," Woodham told the courtroom after being sentenced to two life sentences plus 20 years. "The reason you don't see any more tears is I have been forgiven by God," he added. Woodham said his crime was "sick and evil. If they could have given the death penalty in this case, I deserve it."
The chubby teen killer blamed his rampage on the influence of satanist mentor, Grant Boyette. Woodham testified that after his breakup with Christina Menefee he fell under the influence of Boyette who convinced him to rampage. "He told me I had to kill my mom. He told me I had to get the gun and the car and go to school and get my revenge on Christy and cause a reign of terror."
|Heath High School|
In what's becoming frighteningly commonplace, on December 1, 1997, a high school freshman went on a deadly rampage killing three fellow student and wounding five others. Michael Carneal, a self-professed atheist, shot 11 rounds at a morning prayer circle in the lobby of his Paducah, Kentucky, high school. The boy, who had three spare clips of ammunition and four other guns, surrendered when Ben Strong -- a pastor's son and leader of the prayer circle -- talked him into putting the gun down. Afterward, in what could be the understament of the year, Mike told Heath High School Principal Bill Bond that he was sorry. "He acted just like he had been caught with some minor offense." The principal said he locked the freshman inside his office with a teacher to guard him until police arrived. The teen-ager told English teacher Tobe Dulworth after the shootings, "It was like I was a in dream, and I woke up."
The killer teen showed up to school with an arsenal -- a .22-caliber handgun with three spare clips of ammunition, two rifles and two shotguns -- he had stolen from a neighbor's garage on Thanksgiving Day. He wrapped the rifles and shotguns in blankets and told curious classmates they were props for a science project. Apparently the lethal atheist, who had heckled at the prayer group in previous occasions, waited until group was finished their morning prayer before calmly inserting earplugs and pulling the pistol out of a backpack. "As soon as they said amen, he opened up on them," Bond said. "Only the first three shots could have been aimed. After that, it was just as fast as he could pull the trigger." Mike kept firing until he had one bullet left.
According to friends, the 14-year-old boy skateboarder and alternative music fananatic warned last week that "something big's going to happen," but they all thought he was planning some kind of prank. "They saw him as a jokester," a local reverend said. "Even when he pulled the gun, they thought it was a toy. They had no idea he was capable of any of this." Bond said Mike was short, emotionally immature and was sometimes picked on by the older football players. "He got it bad from some kids, but not as bad as some other kids get it around here. He never said anything about getting revengeor anything like that," said Trent Mathis, who knew Mike from playing in the school band together. An examination of Mike's school essays and short stories done by Principal Bond revealed that the bespectacled 14-year-old felt weak and was constantly teased and picked on by, among others, Ben Strong. "He's a very intelligent young man," the principal said. "He had some minor problems, but he's never been suspended from school."
Heath High School, just west of Paducah, has an enrollment of about 600 students in grades nine through 12. Classes were dismissed for the day at the school and an adjacent middle school as distressed parents arrived. Even though the memories and the pain of the rampage were still fresh, Heath High School held classes the day after. Principal Bill Bond said it was important to go back to classes to show, "we can't let one mixed-up person destroy our society... If someone believes in anarchy and we let that anarchy control us, then he is in control of us."
Prosecuting attorney Timothy Kaltenbach said that Hollywood was to blame for Mike's lethal outburst. Especifically the 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio movie Basketball Diaries. The film -- based on the life of Jim Carroll, a high school basketball player who turned to drugs and violence -- includes a dream scene, in which Carroll shoots classmates and a teacher.
Mike made a passing reference to the movie under questioning by investigators. "They asked him had he ever seen this before, ever seen anything done like this, and he said, 'Yes, I have seen this done in Basketball Diaries,'" Kaltenbach said. Steve Elzer, vice president of publicity for New Line Cinema, which released the movie, said the studio had no comment. Author Jim Carroll said he was "extremely saddened by the recent events... What happened in Kentucky was a product of the pernicous violence of our time and the act of an unbalanced individual," and not a result from his book.
Mike also told investigators he talked with friends about taking control of his school and shooting students for over a year. Understandably, no one took him seriously. However, authorities began interviewing his classmates. One student reportedly quickly retained a lawyer.
|Westside Middle School|
In a disquieting trend that is turning rural schools into the postal office of the 90s, on March 24, 1998, two heavily armed kids dressed in camouflage opened fire on classmates and teachers in the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killing five and wounding 10. The snipers -- cousins Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11 -- lay hiding in the woods behind their school and started taking students down as they exited during a fake fire drill.
The kids were caught heading towards a white van where they had more guns and ammunition. Giving a psycho-sexual tone to the bloodshed, ten of the wounded -- as well as the five dead -- were female. Apparently Mitchell was recently dumped by his girlfriend. A day before the massacre, the jilted 13-year-old boy warned friends, "he had a lot of killing to do." The girlfriend, Kim Candace Porter, was wounded in the massacre.
Jonesboro, a small rural community in Noreastern Arkansas, was been in a state of panic following the deadly ambush. Hordes of horrified parents rushed the school looking for their children. From Uganda President Clinton called the shooting "horrifying." In a written statement he said: "Like all Americans, Hillary and I are deeply shocked and heartbroken by this afternoon's horrifying events." Bob Trout, editor of the Jonesboro Star, said: "It's chaos here. It was a sniper kind of attack. This is the least likely place in the world where I thought it would happen. This is a usually quiet community."
"We thought it was just firecrackers," said one student. "I saw one of my teachers get shot. I started running towards the gym." Paramedic Charles Jones told reporters: "We had children lying everywhere. They had all been shot." Authorities identified the dead students as Natalie Brooks, Paige Ann Herring, Stephanie Johnson, all 12, and Brittany R. Varner, who was 11. English teacher Shannon Wright, 32 -- who was pregnant -- died after surgery for wounds to her chest and abdomen.
When the smoke cleared the two boys were charged with the massacre. During the arraignment in a juvenile detention building in Joneboro, Mitchell -- with tears in his eyes -- held his mother's hand as she cried uncontrollably. Andrew was much more unemotional and even mustered a smiled. Under state law, children under age 14 can only be charged in Juvenile Court and can held in custody until they turn 18.
Friends and neighbors described "Drew" Golden as evil, demented, "a troublemaker," and "always threatening people." Although only 11, he was well-tutored by his dad -- the registered representative for a local gun club -- in shooting rifles, shotguns and pistols. Drew's grandfather, Doug Golden,said that the boy admitted pulling the fire alarm and that he fired some shots, but said he couldn't recall anything else.
His older cousin Mitchell was literally a choirboy who went to church when his parents didn't and held chairs politely for girls. Recently, he'd donned red clothing or camouflage outfits and boasted of being a member of a gang called The Bloods. (Curiously, The Bloods are a known South Central L.A. gang whose members tend to be black and/or Latino.) The day of the massacre the kids skipped school, stole a bunch of weapons from Andy's grandfather's shed, and took Michell's stepfather's van without permission.
"He told me yesterday that all the people who broke up with him, you know, he's going to come to school tomorrow and shoot them," said 12-year-old Charles Vanoven, another seventh-grader. "I thought he was just kidding around." Charles said Mitchell also had pulled a knife on another student, but he was afraid to report him. "He told us that tomorrow you will find out if you live or die," said seventh-grader Melinda Henson, who described herself as a good friend of Mitchell. As for his younger cousin, a classmate said: "He'll sit there and say, 'Man, he's making me so mad I should just take my gun and start blasting him in the butt for it.' You know he don't act like he's mad, but you really don't know about him. He's 11."
Attempting to explain the rise of school violence in the nation, Kevin Dwyer, assistant executive director of the National Assn. of School Psychologists, laid the blame squarely on the "availability of guns and the misdiagnosis of depression... It makes me cry. People don't take these kids seriously... They tell friends they're going to do something. They tell adults wait until you see what's going to happen. They send a lot of signals."
In another misguided attempt to blame rap music for society's ills, Debbie Pelley, an English teacher at the Jonesboro middle school, pointed at the music of Tupac Shakur and Bone Thugs 'N Harmony as inciting factors in Mitchell Johnson's shooting rampage. Pelley told a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation Committee, "Mitchell brought this music to school with him, listened to it on the bus, tried listening to it in classes, sang the lyrics over and over at school."
Several U.S. Senators, in their election year best, expressed concern that label warnings are failing to tell parents enough information about such music, which they said sends strong messages of violence and sex. Here at the Archives we think the government should start putting labels on weapons considering that regardless how much gansta-rap Mitchell listened to, without his hunting rifle he would have not killed anyone.
Mitchell Johnson walked free from prison seven years after he and fellow student Andrew Golden opened fire outside Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killing four students and a teacher.
Johnson, who was tried as a juvenile, left a Tennessee facility on his 21st birthday with his record wiped clean. Johnson and Golden (who were were 13 and 11 at the time of the rampage) were tried and convicted as minors, and could only be held under Arkansas' juvenile justice system until they turned 18. Federal prosecutors were able to use gun charges to keep them in prison until their 21st birthdays. Golden, who by all accounts was the more lethal one of the due, is set to be released in 2007.
Because Johnson was convicted as a minor, he no longer has a criminal record reflecting the shootings. Sheriff Jack McCann of Craighead County, Arkansas, said that means he will be able to legally purchase guns. The sheriff spoke with Johnson's mother who said her son would not be living in the Jonesboro area after his release. She still lives about a mile from the middle school where the shooting took place.
Johnson's mother was quoted in an Arkansas paper as saying her son wants to become a minister and that he promises to never live in Arkansas again.
|Thurston High School|
On May 21, 1998 -- a day after being expelled from school for bringing a loaded gun to class -- 15-year-old Kipland Kinkel returned to Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, and opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students and wounding 22 others. The attack was brought to a halt by 17-year-old wrestling student, Jake Ryker, who despite being shot in the chest, tackled Kipland as he was reloading. Several others quickly piled on to pin the freckled-face rampager to the ground until police arrived.
The heroic Ryker was shot in the hand and chest while he subdued his rampaging school mate. When it was all over, 17-year-old Mikael Nickolauson was dead on the scene, and 16-year-old Ben Walker died in the hospital early the next day from wounds to the head.
The day before the rampage, Kip -- who was jokingly voted "Most Likely to Start World War III" in middle-school -- had been arrested, expelled from school and released to his parents' custody on a charge of possession of a stolen firearm. By all accounts Kip was terrified of his father judgement. He'd long felt belittled and ashamed that he couldn't live up to his popular and athletic older sister, six years his senior. He felt that he had nowhere to turn and no choice but to end his parents' lives. From that moment forward, he planned how he would do it, and then (according to some accounts) how he would make sure that he, too, would die‹but not before getting back at classmates who'd made him feel worthless.
Following the rampage, investigators found the parents dead in separate rooms of their suburban home. The parents, William P. Kinkel, 59, and Faith M. Kinkel, 57, were both teachers. The father was retired from teaching Spanish at Thurston High. The mother taught Spanish at a nearby high school.
Kinkel slew his parents, spent the night with their bodies in the home, booby-trapped the house with bombs, stole the car, and drove twenty minutes to school the next morning with the intent to kill as many people as he could. This was his world and he was wantonly destroying it over something as minor as a school violation. He even had a knife strapped to his leg and some pepper spray, which he tried using against the arresting police officer. His crime showed a finely honed and detailed sense of premeditation, and in fact, over the previous few years, he'd been slowly arming himself with numerous guns and explosives.
By early adolescence, he set about making himself into someone that others regarded as "dangerous." He hung out with kids who got him involved in petty theft, and when he was caught, he knew this was yet another disappointment for his parents. He framed the lyrics from Marilyn Manson's song, "The Reflecting God," to the effect that there was no salvation, and then became fascinated with explosives. His was a disturbed mind, and he embraced emblems of despair.
Bomb squad officials were called in after police searching the Kinkel home found five "sophisticated" bombs, 15 other inactive explosive devices, detailed bomb-making instructions, and various chemicals that could be used to make explosives. When the demolition experts where removing some of the explosives, one of the homemade devices was accidentally detonated. A fifth bomb was found by investigators when they tried to remove his mother's body. Authorities also found two Howitzer shell casings and a hand grenade.
The school shooting occurred just before 8 a.m. when up to 400 people were gathered in the cafeteria for a farewell ceremony for graduating seniors. Witnesses said they saw Kipland, dressed in a cream-colored trench coat, running through the cafeteria firing from the hip 51 rounds from his .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic rifle. He was also packing a .22-caliber Ruger semiautomatic handgun and a 9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol. In his backpack police found several fully loaded ammunition clips and an assortment of loose ammunition.
In retrospect Kip was nothing other than a budding psychopath. "He always said that it would be fun to kill someone and do stuff like that," said student Robbie Johnson. "Yesterday, he told a couple of people he was probably going to do something stupid today and get back at the people who had expelled him."
Kinkel allegedly gave a talk in speech class about how to build a bomb and bragged about torturing animals. According to Nissa Lund, 14, Kip told her he once stuffed lit firecrackers in a cat's mouth. Rachel Dawson, Kip's former girlfriend in middle school, said he boasted about shooting little cats. Clearly a serial-killer-in-the-making, Kip also talked about blowing up a cow. In a recent literature class Kip stood in the front of the room and read from his journal his plans of to "kill everybody." On the other hand, friends said when he was not busy with revenge fantasies, bombmaking and killing animals, Kip was a normal, boisterous, high school freshman who was into alternative rock bands like Nirvana and enjoyed playing guitar and football.
About a year ago, the Kinkels discovered Kip was downloading bomb-making instructions from the Internet and building bombs, said Kim Scott, a best friend of Kip's sister, Kristin. "They tried to discipline him and they tried to keep him from making more bombs, but at some point, Kristin said, they just pretty much had given up on being able to control him." Friends of the family said the parents knew of the son's penchant for making bombs. Bill -- his father -- bought the guns used in the killings as a way to divert his son's obsession with weapons into a supervised hobby. They even hired an anger-management counselor who clearly had no success with the junior Charlie Manson.
The parents of Kipland Kinkel, the boy accused of the Springfield shootings, were not gun enthusiasts, but their son was, according to interviews with family friends. The parents agonized over the boy's gun obsession, finally giving in and buying him a weapon. The father and son took courses in marksmanship and safety, and the guns were kept under lock and key.
But given Kip Kinkel's moods and temper, the parents had debated over whether to get him a single-loading bolt-action weapon or something with more rapid-fire capability. They settled on the more powerful gun, a .22-caliber semiautomatic Ruger rifle. It was a fatal mistake, according to some people who are studying the recent shootings. It was that rifle that Kip used to fire off 50 rounds at Thurston High School.
"The kid had them by the throat," said Dr. Bill Reisman, who profiles deviant youth behavior for law-enforcement officials and recently gave a closed-door briefing to community leaders from cities where the school shootings occurred. "They were terrified of his interest in guns, but they went out and bought him guns."
A Kinkel family friend, Tom Jacobson, who played tennis every other week with the boy's father, said the parents were looking for a way to control and connect with their volatile child. The parents, Bill and Faith Kinkel, were both killed by their son, prosecutors in Oregon said.
"These were devoted parents in a tight-knit family," Jacobson said in an interview. "Bill had tried everything with Kip. I think he just ran out of ideas."
Two days after the rampage, police disclosed that Kip had lunged at an officer in the police station with a hunting knife he had taped to his leg. When he arrived at the station the handcuffed freckle-faced killer was briefly placed in an interviewing room while his accompanying officer left to secure his weapon. When he returned, Kinkel attacked the officer with the knife and the officer pepper sprayed him.
With six instances of rampaging students in schools logged into the Archives, experts and psychologist are trying to explain this emerging phenomenon. In fact, they have coined a new term to classify this kind of schoolyard behavior: Intermittent Explosive Disorder. All occurences of IED seem to have taken place in predominantly white, semi-rural, middle-class school districts with no prior history of violent crime coupled with easy access to high-powered weapons.
On November 2000 national elections Kinkel emerged as a central figure in the debate over an Oregon ballot measure that could reduce the sentences of thousands of inmates. "If Kip Kinkel is resentenced, I will be living in fear every day, along with my family and fellow victims, that if he is released he will hunt us all down," Jennifer Alldredge, a student wounded by Kinkel, wrote in the state's official voter guide. The Republican candidate for attorney general is also featuring Kinkel in TV ads that accuse the incumbent of supporting the earlier guidelines, which theoretically could reduce Kinkel's 112-year prison sentence to one that frees him at 21.
State Representative Jo Ann Bowman, a leading repeal supporter, argued that opponents are using Kinkel as a scare tactic. Even if the ballot measure passes, she said, no judge would resentence Kinkel as a juvenile. "There's no way that anyone could kill four people and wound 25 without spending an extremely long time in prison," the Portland Democrat said.
On April 20, 1999 the two students dressed in black trench coats, fatigues and ski-masks opened fire in a suburban high school in Littleton, Colorado, leaving up to 12 students and a teacher dead. At least 24 others were wounded, with five in critical condition. Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone said Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, armed with explosives, two sawed-off shotguns, a .9 mm carbine rifle and TEC-DC9 semiautomatic pistol, appeared to be in a "suicide mission." The mayhem started at 11:30 AM, when half of the student body at Columbine High School was in their lunch break, until four hours later when the two rampagers were found dead in the library from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Following their murderous outbreak schools throughout the nation have experience a rash of copycat threats leading to the closing of entire districts.
The rampage spanned through different areas of the school, starting in the cafeteria, and ending in the upstairs library where they did most of the killing. Throughout the rampage the attackers appeared to proceed in an organized fashion, as if following a plan. Witnesses said they were giggling and laughing at the carnage. At one point, one of the young gunmen chased a female student under a table and shot her after playing a grotesque version "peekaboo." Another victim was shot after she said she believed in God.
SWAT team members searching the building were able to see some wounded students but couldn't reach them because they feared being shot. Television images, broadcast nationwide, showed police cars and ambulances at a staging area near the school, and helmeted officers in camouflage gear. At one point, a bloodied young man dangled from a second-floor window, his right arm limp, and was helped down by two SWAT team members. Others hid in classrooms and vents until they were led out of the building with their hands up and frisked by SWAT team members. One student called authorities from his cell phone as he hid from the killers.
Police said the youths left numerous homemade bombs with timers in and around at Columbine High School. One exploded hours after authorities the slayings. Several were detonated during the rampage. The homemade bombs included highly lethal pipe bombs, propane-fueled shrapnel explosives and plastic containers filled with gasoline and soap. Some were found near the bodies of the two suspects. In all, 50 explosive devices were found in the school as well as in their cars and homes.
The two Hitler-loving outcast enjoyed talking in German and wearing swastikas on their clothes. When the two went bowling and one would do something good, he would shout, 'Heil Hitler!' and throw up his hand. Harris, particularly, was obsessed by anything German of Second World War vintage, while 6ft 4in, blond Klebold, who drove a BMW, was "into guns". The black beamer, incidentally, was found wired with bombs in the school parking lot.
Acquaintances said the two were unpopular and talked a lot about guns and violence. Devon Adams, 16, said Harris had "changed recently" and "gotten mean." She also said that Klebold was "different." One female student, her arms spattered with the blood of fellow students, sobbed as she told KMGH television: "He was shooting people right in front of me. He was shooting people of color and people who play sports. He put the gun right in my face and started laughing and said it was because people were mean to him last year."
Acting more like a lynch mob nationwide news sources alternately blamed the Internet, the computer game Doom, Goth Rock, Marilyn Manson, "Natural Born Killers," and the German industrial metal band Rammstein for the carnage. Not surprisingly many fake Trench Coat Mafia website popped out of nowhere. Many were featured in leading news stories nationwide.
Until April 20 the Trench Coat Mafia, this now infamous group of about 10 students who enjoyed wearing black trench coats, was just another anonymous clique of high schoool introverts. But after the rampage, the Trench Coaters have become a jock-hating, white supremacist, goth rockin', swastika wearing, web designing, explosive making, confederate flag wearing, Marylin Manson loving, Vampire role playing, Doom addicted, wargame freak, Hitler worshipping, gang of suburban terrorist.
Although some of the "facts" might be true about one or the other gunman, none of it really pertained to the demonized "Trench Coat Mafia." Following the rampage a veritable information tsunami pertaining to the killings swept all online and traditional media. Curiously, no one bothered about checking their facts. Everyone -- from CNN to MSNBC to Matt Drudge to Tom Brokaw -- focused on half-truths and speculation to paint a picture of a killer "gang." Authorities and school district officials said they had never heard of the group.
A reference to the Mafia was found in last year's Columbine yearbook that showed a group of friends remembering good times, not a call for the apocalypse. "Who says we are different? Insanity's healthy! Remember rocking parties at Kristen's, foosball at Joe's and fencing at Christopher's! Stay alive, stay different, stay crazy. Oh, and stay away from CREAM SODA!!! Love always, the chicks." In his AOL member profile Eric Harris wrote, "Kill em AALLLL!!!!" AOL announced it will hand over to the FBI all files pertaining to the two killers and their accounts as well as any other posting referring to the Trench Coat Mafia.
On March 1, 2001, a 15-year-old high school freshman opened fire at his school in Santee, Southern California, killing two other students and wounding 11 students and two teachers. One victim, Brian Zuchor, 14, was found dead at the school. Randy Gordon, 15, died at nearby Grossmont Hospital. Eleven more students and two adults wounded. The teenager, identified as Andy Williams, allegedly told friends that he wanted to "pull a Columbine" on Santana High. Sadly, no one took him seriously.
The shooting started at about 9:20 a.m. in the boys room in the social sciences building. Students said Williams was smiling when he allegedly emerged from a restroom and started shooting. "He was looking around, smiling, with his weapon. He fired two more shots and went back in," fellow student John Schardt told AP. "He had an evil kind of sadistic demeanor to him." The gunman allegedly reloaded his weapon four times and fired more than thirty rounds.
According to Neil O'Grady, 15, the suspect talked to him and others over the weekend about a shooting at the school: "He was telling us how he was going to bring a gun to school" O'Grady said, "but we thought he was joking." Students described Williams as "scrawny and little," and someone "who always got picked on." For months he kept saying he was going to bring his father's guns to school and shoot people: "You guys just watch, I'll do it... It'll happen."
Santee, a suburban town of 59,000 residents, is about 10 miles northeast of San Diego. Santana High, which opened in 1965, has more that 1,900 students in grades nine through 12.
Authorities in San Diego, California say that school rampager Charles "Andy" Williams saved one bullet for himself but was unable to use it due to quick action by law enforcement. Fifteen-year-old Charles "Andy" Williams told detectives he carefully counted bullets, but planned to shoot randomly, but at the end would commit suicide.
The scrawny teen also allegedly said made up his mind about the attack three days before the rampage. Williams told detectives he was disappointed and angry at Santana High, in part because he was disciplined for repeated tardiness. He added that he wasn't shooting at anyone in particular. Williams is being held in juvenile custody after being charged as an adult under Proposition 21 with murder, attempted murder and assault with a firearm.
The boy also allegedly said he told his friend Joshua Stevens of his plan. Stevens has said he did not report anything because he thought Williams was joking. Stevens is one of four students forced to transfer from Santana High.
|UC Santa Barbara|
Authorities in Northern California have charged college freshman David Edward Attias with four counts of murder for intentionally ramming his black Saab into a crowd of UC Santa Barbara students, killing four people. The victims were UC Santa Barbara sophomore Nicholas Shaw Bourdakis, 20, of Alamo; Santa Barbara City College student Ruth Dasha Golda Levy, 20, of San Francisco; her visiting brother's roommate, Elie Israel, 27, of San Francisco; and Christopher Edward Divis, 20, of San Diego County. A fifth person was wounded and nine cars were struck.
Witnesses said that after killing the pedestrians, a highly volatile Attias paced through the site of the accident shouting, "I am the Angel of Death". According to 25-year-old Sevan Matossian who filmed the mayhem, Attias was "swinging at people and yelling and bouncing around like he was a boxer... It looked like he was on something." Attias, 18, is the son TV director Daniel Attias. His mother, Diana Attias, is a book editor.
At his dormitory the suspect was referred to as "Crazy Dave" and "Tweaker". The night before the carnage, Attias allegedly burst into the room of a female student and said, "God is speaking to me. Life is a game, and you only make it if you're beautiful and rich... I'm a virgin, and I need to have sex right now."
Following the school shooting in San Diego, a wave of alleged Intermittent Explosive Disorder cases have have swept the nation resulting in the arrest of numerous student.
In California 16 students, including three teens who attend the California School for the Deaf, have been detained since for threatening teachers and students or bringing weapons on campus. A 15-year-old Perris High School student arrested after he boasted that he could outdo the 15 victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
In Pennsylvania, a 14-year-old girl was charged with attempted homicide after allegedly shooting a classmate in the shoulder at their parochial school in Williamsport. A 12-year-old student of the Thomas Morton Elementary School in southwest Philadelphia was arrested after a .22-caliber pistol was allegedly found in his possession. An 8-year-old boy armed with a loaded handgun threatened a "bloodbath" in the Henry C. Lea School in west Philadelphia before being taken into custody.
In Michigan, police arrested a 17-year-old girl accused of talking some middle school students into delivering a false bomb threat to authorities. The teen gave a note to three children at a playground next to the school and told them to bring it to the sheriff's office.
In Iowa, a 15-year-old Assumption High School student was arrested after threatening to get a gun and shoot everyone in the school, Davenport police said. By court order, he will undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
In Florida, Philip M. Bryant, a 17-year-old sophomore at Bayshore High School in Bradenton, was charged with carrying a loaded semiautomatic handgun on campus. Another 17-year-old was arrested after he was allegedly found carrying a revolver with a sawed-off barrel at Meadowlawn Middle School, his former school, in St. Petersburg.
In Washington state, a 16-year-old boy was arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun during a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps session. In Virginia, a 12-year old middle school student was arrested for threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot a female classmate. In Wisconsin, a 14-year-old boy who fled from his middle school while being disciplined returned with a gun just after classes let out but was taken into custody without incident.
In Texas, a high school freshman found with a hit list of pupils he reportedly wanted to kill was expelled from Harlingen High School. In Arizona, three students were arrested: An eighth-grader was accused of threatening to bring a gun to school to shoot sixth-graders; a 13-year-old was arrested for making threats to shoot classmates who ridiculed him; and a 13-year-old girl was arrested after he allegedly left a bomb threat on an answering machine.
In New Jersey, a 15-year-old boy honor student was arrested in Camden for allegedly threatening to shoot members of a high school clique during a wood shop class. Though most shocking of all is an Indianapolis 6-year-old girl who took a loaded handgun to her kindergarten class.