By the age of 15, Roger Needham developed an interest in Nazism and made it known to everyone at school by wearing a Nazi pin. He was described as a loner who was taunted by two classmates for his growing obsession. In his journal titled “My Struggle,” after the man he revered, he wrote: “I almost abandoned Hitler last night - out of being pushed too far by my classmates. I
almost went to school without my Nazi party pin on my jacket. But
luckily again I had a burst of courage and never again will I think
about abandoning Mein Fuhrer and Nazism.” Two days later, on February 22, 1978, he brought his father’s Luger .22-caliber pistol to his Lansing, Michigan school and shot the two students who had once again bothered him about his pin. One of them died after suffering a wound to the neck and being shot again point-blank in the head. Needham then surrendered.
A psychiatrist concluded Needham was “highly intelligent, hostile, intensely angry at everyone,” and his mental illness made him a “true paranoiac” whose feelings of superiority combined with the belief everyone was plotting against him led him to kill. Prosecutors decided against trying him as an adult, and he received treatment at a juvenile facility until he was released at age 19 in 1981. Needham became a successful mathematician, ultimately earning a PhD in the field.