Violence in Our Schools

August 1, 1994 through July 31, 1995


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To report a threat of school violence before the instigator has a chance to act on his/her intentions, please contact Speak Up at 1-866-SPEAKUP (that is 1-866-773-2587)

I would like to thank all of the Survivors and others who have contacted me with information about school violence.  I really do appreciate the help, for without their help, several of these occurrences would not be here.

One other thing I would like to ask of those who read over this list of tragedies is this: If you can provide me with any more details of any of these incidents, I would greatly appreciate the information. Or, if you know of another violent act at a school that is not on this list, please forward that information to me as well.  The link to my e-mail is above.


Hollywood High School, Los Angeles, California

Wednesday, September 7, 1994

While standing on the sidewalk outside of his school, a late 1960's model gray Chevrolet Camaro pulled up alongside 16-year-old Rolando Ruiz and its occupants exchanged words with him.  Classes had just been dismissed for the day at 3:30 p.m. Rolando was in one gang and those in the car were in another.  They became very agitated, stopped their car at the intersection of Highland and Sunset Boulevard, jumped out and shot Rolando.  The gang members planned to get back into their car and flee, but by now it was stuck in traffic.  So, they fled on foot. Scores of students and motorists witness the shooting. Rolando was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died.

Source: Los Angeles Times - A Very Public Murder; Los Angeles Times - 10th Grader Slain at Hollywood High as Rival Gangs Clash


Edison High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monday, September 12, 1994

Two boys, a 16-year-old junior and a 15-year-old freshman, disagreed over an unknown topic all last week.  At home, in their neighborhood and at school the two students never could resolve their differences.  Today, their disagreement climaxed in the school's cafeteria when the younger boy stabbed his opponent in the lower abdomen with a steak knife.  The wounded junior was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and is expected to recover.   The instigator was arrested and held at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center.

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune - Edison High Teen Stabs Other Boy - Victim is Reported in Serious Condition


Grimsley High School, Greensboro, North Carolina

Wednesday, October 12, 1994

Nicholas Atkinson, 16, was suspended from school.  That didn't stop him from returning to school today with a 9mm pistol.  Nicholas wounded the assistant principal and then killed himself.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Brockton High School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, October 20, 1994

Being unhappy with his grades, 27-year-old Ta Phu Cuong came to school today and opens fire on two guidance counselors.  Both of the counselors survive the shooting.  Ta Phu is an adult student at Brockton High.

Source: Visitor to this site


Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Vernon, New York

Tuesday, October 25, 1994

As students switched to their second class of the day, a fight in the hallway between two 17-year-old boys broke out at 9:15 this morning.  The fight climaxed when Hopeton Minott stabbed Shebule Jackson in the neck three times.  Shebule wasn't fighting Hopeton at the time.  He was, unfortunately, in the second-floor hallway at the wrong time.  Shebule, a senior and the school's star centerfielder, collapsed to the floor and began to bleed profusely.  He was airlifted to Westchester County Medical Center where died from his wounds an hour later.  Hopeton was charged with second-degree murder.

Source: The New York Times - Student Slain at School in Mt. Vernon


Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, San Leandro, California

Saturday, November 5, 1994

This afternoon Evelyna LeBlanc and two of her girlfriends were attending a high school football game at Merritt College.  Around 3:30 p.m., during the third quarter, the 15-year-old Evelyna left the game to go back to her Oakland home to get a coat.  For the next two and a half hours, Evelyna was somewhere in Oakland  After 11 years, police still haven't been able to track her whereabouts.  Police were able to pick up her trail again when a BART bus driver picked her up outside the San Leandro BART station at 6:10.  A young man also boarded the bus and spoke with Evelyna during their 20 minute ride, asking her where she was going, where she was living and if she had a boyfriend.  The two teens got off the bus at 6:30 at East 14th Street and San Leandro Boulevard.  Evelyna then started walking to a friend's home in the pouring rain.  It is unknown if the male accompanied her.  During her walk, the San Leandro sophomore co-ed took a shortcut behind Jefferson Elementary School.  She never made it past the school as she was sexually assaulted, shot in the head and left for dead.  Police responded to a burglar alarm at the school and found Evelyna banging her left hand against the school's outer rear wall.  Her upturned umbrella and several articles of clothing were nearby.  She was taken to Eden Medical Center where she died the next day.  Police are still searching for her murderer.

Source: Inside Bay Area - Oakland Mom Still Haunted by Daughter's Slaying


Wickliffe Middle School, Wickliffe, Ohio

Monday, November 7, 1994

Dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun, 37-year-old Keith A. Ledeger storms the office of the school on Monday.  He kills Peter Christopher, a custodian who was loved greatly by the students.  A fight ensues, which quickly moves into the hallway where shop teacher Lowell Grimm, Assistant Principal Jim Anderson, a policeman and Keith are wounded.  Alcohol reportedly lead to Keith's state of mind.

Source: Two Survivors of Wickliffe Middle School


West Delaware High School, Manchester, Iowa

Tuesday, November 8, 1994

The next day in Iowa, 16-year-old Chad Welcher fired two shotgun blasts into the school's administration offices.  A secretary was injured by the flying glass and pellets.  She was taken to Delaware County Memorial Hospital where doctors removed two of the four pellets in her shoulder.  School had let out early for a teacher in-service day when Chad returned to his school at 2 p.m.  He was arrested shortly after the shooting.

Source: Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Gazette - Shooting Jolts School - W. Delaware Officials Hope for Return to Normalcy


Stadium High School, Tacoma, Washington

Tuesday, November 15, 1994

Thorin Baldwin, 17, enjoyed hanging out, going to movies and driving around town with his friends.  He wanted to be a teacher and told his friends that those who kill themselves take the easy way out.  This afternoon, Thorin shocked his family and friends by committing suicide. Thorin was a bright student, however, he was starting to struggle in school.  Trying to make himself known and respected in the crowded school had the opposite affect on him, as he felt helpless.  Thorin, a violinist with the Tacoma Youth Symphony, was even painful when he ate lunch in the crowded lunchroom.  His friend Alex Auty was probably the last person to see him alive as he left the cafeteria and went into a hallway on the third floor of the school.  Thorin patted his pocket and told Alex he was carrying a gun, but Alex didn't believe him because there didn't appear anything bulky enough in his pocket.  Fifteen minutes later, Alex, and the rest of the school, heard the single shot from the handgun that ended Thorin's life.  He was rushed to Tacoma General Hospital where he died this evening surrounded by his family.  With Thorin's death, he brought years of anguish to his family and friends.

Source: The News Tribune - 'You'd Never Think He Was Suicidal' Amid Grief, Dead Teen's Family, Friends Ask Themselves Why


Cardozo Senior High School, Washington, D. C.

Wednesday, January 5, 1995

This afternoon, around 12:30 p.m., eight young men, including a 14-year-old student of Cardozo, tried to enter the school from the Clifton Street side entrance.  They were turned away by one of the school's four security guards because they were late.  After contacting the principal's office, the guard waited for an official to arrive.  As he waited, Antar A. Hall, 16, was passing by in the hallway.  Antar and the 14-year-old freshman had argued before and now seemed a good time to start the fighting again.  They moved the confrontation outside.  At one point in the war of words, the freshman pulled out a .380-caliber pistol.  Antar turned to retreat inside the school, but the boy fired three rounds into his back.  Antar was able to make into the building and collapsed in the lobby.  Another student, who was not identified, was also wounded during this shooting.  This student was walking into the foyer just as the shoots were fired; he turned to run from the scene and smashed into a window, injuring his arm.  An hour after the shooting, Antar died at Howard University Hospital.  Cardozo does have metal detectors at its front doors.  Police initially theorized the shooting was in response to an attack earlier in the week when a girl, believed to be the freshman's girlfriend, was assaulted at an apartment complex.  The police stated that Antar may have had something to do with the attack on the girl.

Source: Washington Post - Student Fatally Shot at Cardozo High; D.C. Police Say Suspect is Youth, 14


Palm Beach Gardens High School, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Tuesday, January 10, 1995

After an argument with his girlfriend turned out bad, 15-year-old Robert Warthen shot and killed himself in one of the school's hallways.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington

Thursday, January 12, 1995

The student body filed into Garfield High's gymnasium this morning for a Martin Luther King Day assembly.  One student, a 15-year-old freshman, however, was getting jacked up on weed.  Hassan Coaxum was teasing the freshman and even stole his weed.  The short (5'4") freshman was intimidated by Hassan and his fellow tough guys.  He left the assembly, humiliated and angry, and headed home.  As the speakers at the assembly spoke of Dr. King's legacy of nonviolence and black liberation, the freshman grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and headed back to school.  He had stolen the gun from his grandfather last year. He was planning on shooting a black man, Hassan and the irony of the event was lost to him.  He arrived back at Garfield at noon as the student body, all 1,500 of them, was enjoying lunch. Several students were looking over their Winter Ball pictures and mingling with their friends.  Hassan was in the lunchroom on the first floor and the freshman heads for his table.  Hassan tells him to sit down and acting rather cool, even though just hours early he had robbed him. The freshman sits down and leans back, this allows Hassan to see the gun in his waistband.  Hassan starts shouting about the gun and screams erupt around the cafeteria.  Hassan lunged at the freshman and knocked the gun from his hands.  The freshman was able to recover the gun and began to pistol whip Hassan.  He tried to fire the gun at point-blank range, but it jammed.  Hassan fled the cafeteria with the freshman on his heels, firing off 14 shots.  The chase went through the crowded hallways, to an outside sidewalk and then back inside the front hallway, where the Winter Ball pictures were being handed out.  Rachel Thompson was looking over her pictures when she heard someone shout, "He's got a gun!" She started running for the doors, but a ricocheting bullet tore through her left knee.  Close by, Hassan had also been stuck, in the buttocks and fell to the floor of the front hallway.  Rachel was still able to exit the building, as was the freshman.  He was arrested nearby on a sports field, with the last bullet still in the clip.  Police credit the freshman's poor shooting skills as one of the reasons that only two students were injured.  King County Superior Court Judge Mary Brucker decided a couple of months later to try the freshman as a juvenile.  He pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder (Hassan) and first-degree assault (Rachel), was sentenced to prison for five years and released when he turned 21.  Rachel returned to Garfield High, founded the school's chapter of Students Against Violence Everywhere, SAVE, and graduated in 1999.

THE INJURED:

Hassan Coaxum Rachel Thompson, 15

Source: www.thestranger.com - Feature: The Shooter (published February 27, 2003)


Sacred Heart (Middle) School, Redlands, California

Monday, January 23, 1995

John Sirola, 13, shoots Principal Richard Facciolo in the face and shoulder.  As John flees the principal's office, he tripped and dropped the sawed off shotgun.  It went off and the shot killed John.  John reportedly had problems with the dress code and authority.

Source: A Survivor of Sacred Heart School


McCluer North High School, St. Louis, Missouri

Tuesday, January 24, 1995

Earlier this month, 15-year-old Michael Taylor was found hiding in a girl's restroom at another school.  He was transferred to McCleur and this was his second day on campus.  Once again, he hid in a girl's restroom, but this time he did so much more.  Christine Smetzer, also 15, entered the restroom that Michael was hiding in.  He raped her and then beat her to death.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Charlotte Amalie High School, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Wednesday, February 1, 1995

During a fight today on the campus of Charlotte Amalie High School between 14-year-old Nashibo George and 18-year-old Lamar Knight, the younger boy prevailed when he stabbed Lamar once in the chest.  Lamar died from this stab wound.  Nashibo was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.  However, a jury convicted him of manslaughter.  Territorial Court Judge Leon Kendall handed down an unusual sentence on April 26, 2004.  He sentenced Nashibo to spend the next five years taking a full course load of classes at the University of the Virgin Islands and graduate with a bachelor's degree.  Nashibo must also maintain employment of 20 hours a week while he attends classes.  When he is not in class or at work, Nashibo will be in jail.  Lamar was the first student to die on a school campus in the US Virgin Islands.

Source: St. Thomas Source - Defendant in First School Killing Sentenced to College (published 6-7-04)


Jordan High School, Long Beach, California

Thursday, February 2, 1995

While walking with friends across the athletic fields to watch a girl's soccer game, 17-year-old Javier Gutierrez was shot in the back by a 16-year-old gang member.  The young instigator also wounded one of Javier's friends.  Javier was a member of Peace 90805, a group designed to ease tensions between African-Americans and Latinos in the Long Beach area.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Holly Springs High School, Holly Springs, Mississippi

Friday, April 21, 1995

During a fight in a hallway over a boy between two 17-year-old girls, Marsha Mayfield stabbed Shelisa Hunt in the heart with a pocketknife, killing her.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Sackville High School, Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Wednesday, April 26, 1995

Lee Anne Young and James Brown coaxed 16-year-old  Kristy Lynn Salter to the grounds of Sackville High School early this morning. Once there, Lee Anne, 16, and James, 19, turned on Kristy and attacked her.  Lee Anne covered Kristy's mouth and told her to shut up as James stabbed her 11 times and slit her throat.  James was sentenced to life in prison and will be eligible for parole in 2010.  Lee Anne pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in February 1996 and received a life sentence for this senseless killing.  Kristy's father, Greg Salter, let go of his anger ten years later when Lee Anne was granted day parole.  On Tuesday, August 22, 2006, Lee Anne Young was granted a full parole by the National Parole Board.  She has free access to the community and must report to a parole officer twice a month.

Source: The Halifax Herald - Dad, Killer Make Peace; The Chronicle Herald - Killer Out on Full Parole


Narbonne High School, Harbor City, California

Thursday, May 18, 1995

A melee of several students resulted in the beating death of Shazeeb Andleeb, 17.  The boy was also stomped upon.  Rene Nieves and Christian Bremmer, both 18, took part in the beating and were charged with the killing.

Source: National School Safety Center's Report on School Associated Violent Deaths


Lake Worth High School, Lake Worth, Florida

Wednesday, June 14, 1995

Former Lake Worth High School student Alexander Kucer fired a .45-caliber pistol into a crowded school parking lot on the last day of school.  He was aiming at Santaluces High School graduate Dieuly Aristilde.  Dieuly, 18, was injured along with Erica Mosley.  The bullet passed through Dieuly and struck Erica, 14, in her right knee.


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