cleveland elementary school

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This Day In Crime

Brenda Spencer
‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ 

Female mass murderers/school shooters are a rare occurrence, but not on January the 29th 1979, at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego. Whilst the young children were waiting at the school gates for it to open, Brenda Spencer got her rifle and stood at her window. Spencer fired 30 rounds of ammunition, killing the principle, a custodian and injuring 8 children. Spencer then barricaded herself in her home hours before being arrested. 


Whilst inside on the phone a reporter asked why? Brenda’s response was “I don’t like Mondays”  

Brenda Spencer was sentenced to 25 to life 

Spencer has had 4 parole requests denied, her next hearing is 2019

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Childhood photos of Brenda 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.

That was my little girl, she’s not a monster.” 

Patrick Purdy thought Asians where at the root of all his problems.

In January 17, 1989, he decided it was time for resolution. He left his flea bag motel wearing the customary army fatigues with “Death to the Great Satin” (a typo or perhaps a strange fixation with fancy evening wear) scribbled on his sleeve and headed for the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California.

In the next six minutes the the lethal drifter opened fire in the schoolyard with an AK-47 killing five youngsters of Southeast Asian descent and wounding 29 children and a teacher. Purdy, 24, ended the attack by turning his gun on himself.

Arson investigator Marty Galindo was at a nearby car wash when he got a radio call of a vehicle fire near Cleveland Elementary School. Purdy, in what detectives later said was a diversion attempt, had stuffed his station wagon with fireworks and set the car ablaze moments before he walked onto the campus and opened fire.

“I can still smell the gunpowder. That’s what I remember most – the gunpowder. There were bullet casings everywhere. And I remember walking by a little girl’s shoe, it couldn’t have been more than a few inches long, that was sitting there on the ground. There was flesh on it. It had to have been cut off. I walked around the corner of a building and saw all those kids down. It was surreal. This was supposed to be where kids are playing games, happy,” Galindo said.

When the smoke settled, Michael Jackson, the Peter Pan of auto-erotica, descended on the school to spread goodwill (and maybe something else) among the surviving kids. Four of the dead children were Cambodian, one was Vietnamese. Most were born in Thailand in refugee camps as their parents fled the genocidal regime of Cambodian ruler Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

(Source:http://murderpedia.org/male.P/p/purdy-patrick.htm)

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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

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.

‘’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.

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.

(Via: murderpedia.org)

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Patrick Purdy murdered five children at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California on January 17, 1989. After parking his car behind the building, he approached the children in the schoolyard dressed in military fatigues armed with a Norinco 56s rifle, and a Taurus PT92 pistol. “Hezbollah” was carved into the rifle and “Freedom” was written on the magazine, along with the pistol’s handle reading “Victory.” While his car exploded, he began shooting with the AK-47 variant, spraying gunfire in all directions. The attack lasted under three minutes and ended when Purdy shot himself in the head. Twenty-nine children were injured, as well as one teacher. The five fatalities were all Southeast Asian immigrants and between the ages of six and nine. Authorities maintained the shooting was not the result of a hatred for the Asian community and concluded Purdy was an unhappy loner who had a fixation on the military.

January 29, 1979

16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer open fired on Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, which she lived across the street from. Spencer had received the gun as a gift from her father on Christmas, almost a month prior to the shooting. From her home, she began to shoot at children who were patiently waiting for the front gates of their school to open. In the midst of her rampage, the principal and a janitor were killed while trying to get children to safety. She also injured 8 children and a police officer. 

When questioned on her motives for the shooting, she replied “I just did it for the fun of it. I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

Spencer is currently serving out an indefinite sentence at The California Institution for Women in Chino, California, and will not be eligible for parole again until 2019. 

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On January 17, 1989, a disturbed loner, Patrick Purdy, brought a Chinese-made AK-47 to the Cleveland Elementary School and started firing. He killed five children and wounded 30 others, including one teacher. He then killed himself. The victims were mostly from Cambodia and Vietnam — Stockton is one of the major hubs for South Asian refugees. Stockton was in the national news — as always, just for something awful. Michael visited Stockton Elementary School shortly after the shooting. His visit left a tremendous impact on children who were still emotionally and psychologically scarred from that tragedy. Weeks after he was wounded in the Cleveland Elementary School shootings, 6-year-old Rob Young and his family received a call from a caseworker with the San Joaquin County district attorney’s victim/witness assistance office that a celebrity was coming to Stockton to visit children and families. “They didn’t tell us who it was,” Young said. “We thought it was going to be the president.” In fact, it was pop singer Michael Jackson, just back from a world tour and at the height of his celebrity. Jackson had heard about the tragedy and, on Feb. 7, 1989, he came to town to try to boost spirits. Wearing a dark blue military-style uniform, Jackson visited every classroom at Cleveland that day, stopped by Central Methodist Church to meet wounded children not yet ready to return to school and sat with two more children still recovering at San Joaquin General Hospital. Jackson gave all the children videotapes and T-shirts. “His presence made me feel like, ‘Oh, wow, the world is safe, and it is possible to dream, and there is hope after all,’ ” said Elizabeth Pha, 27, who as an adult is pursuing her own career as a singing star. In a recent interview with former Record reporter Dianne Barth, Cleveland Principal Pat Busher said, “(Jackson’s) motivations were heartfelt. … It was to help children. And that event did a lot of good for the children.” “He brought truckloads of gifts and held children in his arms. He was genuinely concerned and expressed his sorrow.” said Diane Batres, head of the Victim Witness program in Stockton, who explains she was contacted by Jackson because he was interested in visiting the school and the surviving children. Michael also distributed videotapes of his latest recordings to the children and staff at the school. One of the songs distributed was Man in the Mirror. Five children died, 29 more and a teacher were injured, on January 17th 1989.

Aged 16, 1,57 tall, unusually thin, bright red hair,  self-identified as “having been gay from birth”.  On the morning of Monday, January 29, 1979, Spencer began shooting from her home at children who were waiting outside Cleveland Elementary School. 2 deaths, 9 injuries, asked why she carried out the shooting what she answered was:”I don’t like Mondays”.