I don't like Mondays shooting of 1979

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3 years ago
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On this day (January 29). Grover Cleveland Elementary School - San Diego, California. The year was 1979. It was an ordinary Monday morning as students are preparing for school, but it would turn out a nightmare for the entire school as the suspect fires through her window as she targets innocent children, and lives were lost in the process. Before the incident, what was the motive of the suspect? How did the suspect get a gun at an early age?

The Suspect?

Brenda Spencer at 16 years old.

Brenda Spencer, born on April 3, 1962. She was 16 years old at that time and lived across the street from Grover Cleveland Elementary School. Her parents were separated and lived with her father, Wallace Spencer. Before the shooting, Brenda told her friends and classmates she'll be on TV for doing something big. Also, she was previously arrested for shooting out the windows using an Airsoft gun. In Christmas of 1978, her father gave a .22 Semi-Automatic Rifle with telescopic sights and 500 rounds of ammunition. This led the teenager to cause mayhem, and chaos around the neighborhood.

What happened? Who were the victims?

8:30 am (US Pacific Time). 16-year-old Brenda scans the area when a crowd of young children with their parents waiting for the gates to be opened. She began shooting the children, then the Principal, the Custodian, and a police officer responding at the scene.

Brenda as she scans the area around the school.

20 minutes later eight children and three adults were injured, including the officer who responded to the incident. Two were killed, Principal Burton Wragg, and the school's custodian Mike Suchar as both men tried to help the children to safety. It will be a bloodbath for Brenda once the death toll goes higher, so the police parked a garbage truck to block the shooter's line of sight.

Brenda barricaded herself for hours inside her home, while SWAT surrounded the house and evacuated the school from the rear. She told the negotiators they're easy targets. As officers tried to persuade her to come out of the house. 6 hours later, she surrendered after being promised to give her a Burger King meal. When SWAT breached her home, they found bottles of beer & whiskey cluttered around the house but she does not appear to be intoxicated, and 200 rounds of ammunition. "I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day." This was her motive why she began to shoot a crowd of young children with their parents.

The Verdict?

Brenda Spencer at 57

Instead of a death penalty and a minor at that time, Brenda pleaded guilty for two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. 2 days after her 18th birthday on April 4, 1980, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Up to this day, Brenda Spencer is imprisoned at the California Institution for Women in Riverside, California. She's 58 years old and recently inducted for the Golden Girls club - a program at the facility where they get special privileges once they turn 55.

The Aftermath

The incident was featured in different mediums, from books to television, and a documentary film called The Killing of America. In memoriam to the victims, a plaque and flagpole were built in the same school where Brenda started to fire at the crowd. It was closed for 3 years (1983) after Brenda was sentenced to life imprisonment. Then, it became the Magnolia Science Academy from 2005 to 2017. Ten years after (January 17, 1989), another shooting incident happened. Same school name, but the location of the incident was in Stockton, California.

Before Foster the People, there was Boomtown Rats, an Irish rock band released their hit single I don't like Mondays in July 1979, written by lead vocalist Bob Geidof. He read about the incident and particularly stuck by Brenda's claim why she doesn't like Mondays, then begun writing the song about it. It became the number one song for 4 weeks in the United Kingdom.


Lead Image from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/i-dont-like-mondays-school-14046291





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3 years ago
Topics: 2021, World, Blogging, History, Story, ...