burton wragg

‘’I don’t like Mondays. This will liven up the day.’’

Shooting

On the morning of Monday, January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer had told her father that she wasn’t feeling well and he let her stay home that day. After he left for work, Brenda took her .22 caliber rifle and began shooting from her window at children who were waiting outside Cleveland Elementary School for principal Burton Wragg to open the gates. Brenda injured eight children, including an officer, and killed Principle Burton Wragg and the custodian, Michael Suchar, who were trying to protect the children.

After firing thirty rounds of ammunition, Brenda barricaded herself inside her home for nearly seven hours. While there, a journalist phoned her up and inquired Brenda’s reason for the shooting to which she replied, “I don’t like Mondays. This will liven up the day.’’ Brenda threatened police negotiators that she would ‘’come out shooting.’’ Ultimately, she stepped outside of her home, calmly put her weapon down, and surrendered. When police officers searched her home, they found empty bottles of beer and whisky scattered on the ground.

Conviction

Brenda was tried as an adult, and pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Due to Brenda’s age, she could not receive the death penalty so was instead sentenced to 25 years to life. In prison, Brenda was diagnosed as an epileptic; she has received medication to treat epilepsy and depression while at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California.

In 2009, the parole board ruled Brenda would be denied parole, and would not be considered for the next 10 years. She will become eligible to have a Board of Parole Hearing in 2019.

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.