mr-vela

Barry Loukaitis

‘It’s like I pictured myself doing it or something I never really pictured myself doing anything else.’

Date: February 2, 1996

Age: 14

School: Frontier Junior High School. Moses Lake, WA

Killed: 3

Wounded: 1

Outcome: Held class hostage. Overpowered. In prison.

Mrs Loukaitis confided too much in her son. her marriage had fallen apart, and her husband became involved with another woman. Mrs Loukaitis planned to get revenge against her husband and his girlfriend; she wanted to tie them up, tell them how much they’d hurt her, show them that she had a gun, frighten them into thinking she was going to kill them, and then shoot herself. She said, ‘If he didn’t remember my life, I was going to make him remember my death.’ She shared this plan with her son, on the last weekend of January, told him that she was going to kill herself on February 14 because she knew she could catch her husband with his girlfriend. On February 2, just a few days after she told Loukaitis her plan, he committed his school shooting.

Through his elementary school years he was reportedly outgoing and popular. He served on student council in sixth grade, and numerous friends visited his house. In seventh grade he became more withdrawn. His mother said he had a bad temper and would hit walls in anger.

During middle school Loukaitis was arrogant and intimidating. When he crossed paths with his peers, he would ‘curse them, tell them to shut up or order them out of his way.’ He loved the random violence in the movie Natural Born Killers and liked to quote from it. He talked about his desire to kill someone before he died. He was drawn to the idea of murder, saying ‘It would be cool to kill people…to try and get away with it.’

He also felt superior to his peers and viewed murder as a way of eliminating inferior people. He told a female classmate, ‘Some people don’t deserve to live; some people should just die or be killed.’

On February 2, Loukaitis entered his algebra class and shot Manuel Vela, Mrs Caires and two other students. Having shot 4 people, Loukaitis held the class hostage. During this time Loukaitis was said to be at ease. When the police arrived and wanted to negotiate with him, he reportedly was not afraid but annoyed. Loukaitis was apprehended when a teacher ripped the gun from his hands. Once in custody, a detective commented on how unruffled Loukaitis was: ‘He was acting shockingly calm…I expected to see a look of remorse.’ An officer commented that when he read Loukaitis his rights, ‘He looked up at me and cracked a smile and said ‘I know my rights, man.’ After giving his confession, he curled up in his cell and had a nap. Later that day, Loukaitis’s father described him as ‘Vicious. No emotion. Not crying.’

Adapted from ‘School Shooters’ by Peter Langman