38 years ago today, 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer killed 2 and injured 9 at Cleveland Elementary School. She has been denied parole 4 times, and is next eligible to try in 2019, 40 years after the shooting
she is known for being the first school shooter in American history, and for her infamous quote “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day a little.”
The song I don’t like Mondays, by the Boomtown Rats, was written about Spencer
“She was very active and she was always happy. A good child, well behaved, never had any problems at school.” - Brenda’s mother, Dot Spencer, about her daughter as a child.
On January 29, 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer, 16 years old at the time, fired shots at Cleveland Elementary School across the street from her house, in San Diego, California. The principal and a custodian were killed and nine more were wounded in the shooting.
- 16-year-old Brenda Spencer’s answer as to why she shot up an elementary school in 1979.
Spencer, who is one of only three female school shooters, used a .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle to shoot 11 people. Eight children and a police officer were severely injured, while the principal and a custodian were killed. After the shooting, she locked herself in her house and telephoned a journalist whom interviewed her over the phone. He then passed the call onto police negotiators, who she told “I’ll come out shooting!” After a few hours, Spencer ended up surrendering.
Tried as an adult, Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She remains incarcerated.
On Monday, January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer used a rifle to wound eight children and one police officer at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, and to kill Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar. The school was across the street from her house. She used the rifle she had recently been given for Christmas by her father. When the six-hour incident ended and the pretty teenager was asked why she had committed the crime, she shrugged and replied, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” She also said: “I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun.” “It was just like shooting ducks in a pond.” and “[The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings.” Her lack of remorse and inability to provide a serious explanation for her actions when captured inspired the song “I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats, written by socialist musician Bob Geldof. Her quote “I don’t like Mondays” also appears written on a wall in the movie, The Breakfast Club.
Brenda Ann Spencer, 16, lays down a .22-caliber rifle as San Diego Police SWAT team officers aim sawed-off shotguns and high-powered rifles at her, ending a 6-hour siege at her suburban San Carlos home, on January 29, 1979.
The Cleveland Elementary School shooting took place on January 29, 1979, in San Diego, California. Shots were fired at a public elementary school. The principal and a custodian were killed. Eight children and a police officer were injured.
A 16-year-old girl, Brenda Ann Spencer (born April 3, 1962), who lived in a house across the street from the school, was convicted of the shootings. She was tried as an adult, and pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She was given an indefinite sentence and remains in prison.
During the shooting, a reporter phoned houses near the school looking for information about what was going on. He reached Spencer, who freely admitted that she was the one doing the shooting. When asked why she was doing what she was doing, one of the things she was said to have told him was: “I don’t like Mondays.” The alleged comment was widely publicized; Spencer later said she did not recall making the remark.
“This ‘Rosenkavalier’ will be performed in a chamber version called ‘Someone Younger,’ cut by about one-third and arranged for a small instrumental ensemble. The staging will be worked out with the assistance of a director, Lee Biolos, but the process is meant to be collaborative and, [Brenda] Patterson says, ‘deal with our actual realities rather than deciding who the character is and then imposing that on the performer.’ Rather than playing the role of Sophie as a teenage ingenue, for instance, Janinah Burnett will show her as a slightly more mature woman who happens to be African American. And the affair between the Marschallin and Octavian, played by [Miriam] Gordon-Stewart and Patterson, will gain credibility since the two women are married in real life.”— from the article “Opera as midlife crisis: A new company takes a fresh look at a classic” by Ann Midgette in the Washington Post, August 12, 2016. Photo credit: Deborah Jaffe/For the Washington Post.