The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Spree of shootings

Springfield Ore., May 21, 1998 — The day after he is expelled for bringing a gun to school, Kipland Kinkel, 15, returns to Thurston High. He fires a .22-caliber rifle in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Earlier he had killed his parents. Obsessed with destruction, Kinkel frequently spoke of building bombs and killing people.

Edinboro, Pa., April 27, 1998 — At an eighth-grade dance, Andrew Jerome Wurst, 14, kills a science teacher and wounds another teacher and two students with a .25-caliber handgun. Known for his dark side and enjoyment of Marilyn Manson music, Wurst acquired the nickname "Satan." Friends had dismissed his talk about killing people at the dance.

Jonesboro, Ark., March 24, 1998 — Teachers and students file out of Westside Middle School during a false fire alarm. Armed and waiting in nearby woods, Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, open fire, killing four girls and a teacher and wounding 10 others. A victim of sexual abuse by a neighborhood boy and saddened by his parents' divorce, Johnson had talked of suicide and killing.

West Paducah, Ky., Dec. 1, 1997 — The son of a prominent lawyer, Michael Carneal, 14, brings five guns and 600 rounds of ammunition to Heath High School. He fatally shoots three classmates and wounds five others as they meet for informal prayer. Principal Bill Bond said Carneal "had been teased all his life" and "struck out in anger."

Pearl, Miss., Oct. 1, 1997 — Luke Woodham, 16, stabs his mother to death as she sleeps. He later fatally shoots two female students, including his ex-girlfriend, and wounds seven others at Pearl High School. Woodham complained his mother continually demeaned him.


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February issue


Embracing diversity