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Grover Cleveland Elementary School shootings 1/29/1979 San Diego, CA *”I don’t like Mondays” proclaimed Brenda Spencer*

spencer_brenda.jpgGrover Cleveland Elementary School Shootings: On 29 January 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on children arriving at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego from her house across the street, killing two men and wounding eight students and a police officer. Principal Burton Wragg was attempting to rescue children in the line of fire when he was shot and killed, and custodian Mike Suchar was slain attempting to aid Wragg.Spencer used a rifle her father had given her as a gift. As to what impelled her into this form of murderous madness, she told a reporter, ”I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”

The “Mondays” comment was not the only eyebrow-raising declaration to issue from Spencer that day. According to a report written by the police negotiators who spoke with her during the six-hour standoff, she made such comments to them as ”There was 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.”

That Spencer failed to kill any of the children she shot at was attributable to luck rather than any reluctance on her part to take their lives. The bullet that struck 9-year-old Charles “Cam” Miller missed his heart by about an inch.

brendaannspencermugshot.jpgSpencer pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. She has been up for parole four times and has been turned down each time, the last in 2005. At her first parole hearing she expressed doubt that any of the victims were hit by bullets from her rifle and contended they might have been shot by police. She also claimed to have been under the influence of alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs at the time of the shootings and asserted prosecutors and her attorney had conspired to fabricate test evidence showing there had been no drugs in her system. By her third parole hearing she was admitting guilt and expressing remorse but was still contending she had been drunk and high on marijuana laced with PCP the day of her deadly rampage. She also claimed something new, that she had been beaten and sexually abused by her father, an avowal conspicuously absent from previous records.

She is eligible to again apply for parole in 2009 (which will also be the 30 year anniversary of the crime). Those who continue to be troubled by the callousness of Brenda Spencer’s crime and concerned by her continued attempts to shift blame for her actions onto anyone or anything else can draw comfort from the knowledge that murderers are rarely granted parole in California.

Victims
Burton Wragg – School Principal
Michael Suchar – School Custodian
(Also wounded a police officer and 8 school children)

I Don’t Like Mondays (has several stories)
Intermittent Explosive Disorder
I Don’t Like Mondays
This Day in History: School shooting in San Diego
It Was Monday
The Ballad of Brenda Spencer
Wikipedia: Brenda Ann Spencer
School Shootings (at the bottom)
Brenda Spencer up for parole 25 years after school shooting
DA to request parole be denied for Brenda Spencer
San Diego Sniper Is Denied Parole
School Shooter: Brenda Spencer

INMATE INFORMATION

Name: SPENCER, BRENDA
CDCR#: W14944
Age: 50
Admission Date: 04/24/1980
Current Location: Women’s Institution
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880
(909) 597-1771

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49 Responses

  1. This is the story that prompted the song “I Don’t Like Monday’s” by the Boomtown Rats.

    Lyrics:

    The silicon chip inside her head
    gets switched to overload
    and nobody’s gonna go to school today
    she’s gonna make them stay at home
    And Daddy doesn’t understand it
    He always said she was good as gold
    And he can see no reason
    Cos there are no reasons
    What reasons do you need to be shown

    Chorus:
    Tell me why
    I don’t like Mondays
    I want to shoot
    The whole day down

    The telex machine is kept so clean
    and it types to a waiting world.
    And Mother feels so shocked
    Father’s world is rocked
    And their thoughts turn to
    Their own little girl
    Sweet 16 ain’t that peachy keen
    No it ain’t so neat to admit defeat,
    They can see no reasons
    Cos there are no reasons
    What reasons do you need

    Repeat Chorus

    All the playing’s stopped in the playground now
    She wants to play with her toys of death
    And school’s out early and soon we’ll be learning
    That the lesson today is how to die
    And then the bullhorn crackles
    And the captain tackles
    With the problems and the how’s and why’s
    And he can see no reasons
    Cos there are no reasons
    What reasons do you need to die

    Repeat Chorus

    And the silicon chip inside her head
    gets switched to overload
    and nobody’s gonna go to school today
    she’s gonna make them stay at home
    And Daddy doesn’t understand it
    He always said she was good as gold
    And he can see no reason
    Cos there are no reasons
    What reasons do you need to be shown

    Repeat Chorus

    lyrics and music by Bob Geldof
    taken from the album “The Fine Art of Surfacing”

  2. This bitch is crazy!

  3. [...] schon als Profi bezeichnen und wer dann gar noch weiß das Herr Geldof diesen Titel aufgrund einer Schießerei im Jahre 1979 schrieb, der ist Superprofis oder hat auch MDR-Figaro [...]

  4. [...] para sus hijas.. A partir de ahí, la curiosidad me llevo a varias fuentes de la red como ésta, ésta y ésta. Con la wiki de testigo. Las letras de la canción de aquí y [...]

  5. i hope she dies in prison

  6. i agree with jdv that u should stay and die in jail i’m a kid i don’t want to die and i love mondays not like u

  7. she always looked like a good little girl i think she didn’t like school like me somtimes tachers are to mean

  8. I think Brenda Spencer should be happy to be alive and just stay in prison. I mean “C’mon, what world is it when we let people out whom are killers?” She is alive just like me and eating daily and breathing like me, yet I never shot a child or a cop. She should just be praying she is even aware also. I mean with that type of crime she is just lucky to be even news. I would stay in prison if I was her because those 8 kids she shot are all grown up and probably waiting for her LOLLOLLOLLOL!

  9. I think she should have her nails pulled out and stuff like that (a slow nad painful death) because people let alone children shouldn’t do that she’s sick and tormented i actual want ot kill her. So what if your father abused you don’t have to do what you did, haven’t you heard the song run away love fool

  10. Dykesville!!! Had she of learned to appreciate Mondays, she’d probably be married with children right now.

  11. This woman (now) has made my name a nightmare. I can’t tell you how many times people say, not the Brenda Spencer. I know that is the very least she did. Can’t even imagine what could have happened to make someone do what she did. Out of my realm of understanding. About her getting parol this year, I say when the people she killed rise from the dead, we will talk about it……

  12. I grew up two blocks from Brenda and went to Cleveland Elementery school. She was a few yrs older than me but i remember her . Do any of you ever stop to think that something MUST have happened to this girl to make the event unfold as it did? All I am reading is stuff like “she should have her nails pulled out” , or “she deserves to die” . The old testament went out years ago people >

  13. Obviously to commit a crime of this nature she either had some life altering experience (like the sexual abuse she claimed she suffered) or else she was messed up in the head naturally, but 1 thing is for certain, u don’t go n commit an act like this cos u don’t like mondays r cos it was fun like is widely claimed. She was very young and quite senseless when she committed these crimes but if she was messed up in the head before hand she is most certaily f**ked up now. She should be released from prison n monitored in a mental institution for a number of years n if found fit to re-enter socity freed totally. What good is it doing keeping her locked up anyway

    • I know this was years ago that this was posted, but I had never heard of this and have to comment on your post that she should be “tested” in a mental institute and set free if deemed “okay.” Are you just as f*%& as she?? Go get your own head checked then come back. If anyone and I mean anyone shoots another person, especially a defenseless child you deserve to die-end of story.

    • This young girl never deserves to be free. Some people even at a young age (just like Adam Lanza) have no remorse for what harm they do to others. Why should a person be allowed to enjoy freedom after trying to kill children. (Who’s to say she wouldn’t do it again??) Why give her the chance. Anyone who harms defenseless children should NEVER be allowed to come back to society under any circumstances. Oh, maybe if she lives to be 90 we could probably trust her then!! Maybe not!!

  14. I’ve been writing to Brenda for years. She’s not once sought to excuse her actions, not once. Those of you who think “she should have her nails pulled out” and that “she deserves to die” should ask yourselves why such thoughts are fitting for any human being to think. If you think you are better than her, then please do not speak in a manner that Brenda would never think of doing. Yes, her actions took lives and hurt many. But they were not premeditated but the actions of a girl who finally snapped and who sadly had a gun to hand…that her Dad bought her. She has been paying for that tragic day for 30 years now and it will be 40 years by the time she has her next parole hearing. To me, all that she has ever said is that the hardest of all is not to be able to apologise enough for the harm and suffering and that no time served can bring back those lost.
    But does this mean that we can’t show compassion for her and say that it’s time she came out to, in her own words, “Give back to the community.”

    • Her actions were not premeditated? I beg to differ with you. Brenda most certainly thought about her actions and what she intended to do when loading the weapon, opening the window, aiming a sight bead at children and squeezing the trigger again and again and again. How much is YOUR life worth, 90 days of probation?

  15. My husband was one of the children who was shot by her. We both went to Cleveland Elementary and passed her home every day….I forgive her. My husband is reminded of her often when he sees any X Ray that is taken, for the bullet she gave him is still in his body as a reminder of that terrifying day.

    • This maybe out of line but im doing a really big project on this would you and your husband be able to email me and tell me about all of this,well all use know it would really help? iv looked on the internet got news papers sent iv tryed so hard too try have a chat with people involved.. iv got infomation its just not what im looking for.
      my email address is paigehansen@live.com.au
      please it would help me out so much
      paige

  16. Irene: You’ve got to be kidding! Forgiving somebody doesn’t mean paroling somebody into a world where they would ‘snap’ again. Forgiveness does not mean putting somebody back in an enviroment where they can do it again. She can ‘give back to the community’ in jail. She can be forgiven and stay in jail. Her sentance was 25 to life. Last time I checked, her life wasn’t over yet. From everything I’ve read and seen, she’s still a loaded gun.

  17. I knew Brenda in 1979, I was in juvenile detention with her and with Sheila, the girl that would eventually become her stepmother and the mother of her little sister. This was BEFORE Brenda was convicted. I have read countless stories of what happened to her and how she “claims” things years later. I know firsthand that the things she “claims” later were not sudden revelations, these were KNOWN things then, they were just ignored. That is just how it was then. My claims of child abuse landed me in juvenile hall, because once I informed the authorities of what my mother was doing, my mother told them to take me away because she couldn’t handle her out-of-control daughter. And Sheila too, Sheila committed a crime after years of horrendous abuse, and no one helped her, they just locked her up. So, everyone that is choosing to pass judgment here, understand that you are passing judgment on many incomplete and untrue accounts of Brenda’s life and what happened.

    • Lea,

      Notwithstanding what happened to her as a child or whatever, she was old enough to know that taking a gun to an elementary school and shooting children was WRONG. If she had shot and killed her father for that abuse, it would be a different story. But she didn’t. She shot at many children on a playground at school, where they should have been safe. She needs to pay the piper with her life now.

    • Lea: Nothing, absolutely NOTHING gave Brenda Spencer the right to murder 2 people. She was not given divine permission to put a bullet into eight children and a policeman. As mylifeofcrime stated above, her father, if he really did molest her, is the one who should have been punished.

    • Then she should have shot her father and whore friend…u r stupid!

  18. Just watched a documentary filmed around the time of her first parole hearing. There are so many conflicting stories about her childhood and so many judgements that can be levelled directly at both of her parents its scary. I feel so sorry for the victims and their families. I dont think that she should be realeased considering the circumstances…

  19. Sorry folks. Where does it end? This touchy feely mode is crap! I am accountable for my actions; and if I cross the line,I know it. I choose not to incur the consequences. It’s that simple. When did it become PC that everyone is a victim? What happens when EVERYONE is a victim? Sorry that her childhood sucked, but (I believe) most did. I’ve learned from that and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Guess she thought to the contrary.

  20. My dad is a vietnam vet. I was physically and mentally abused most of my life. Later, I was raped by a footballplayer everyone thought of as God. I hate mondays with a passion and have managed to keep my large collection of guns from jumping into my hand and playing duckhunt with any living creature-not even a duck let alone innocent kids and those heroic enough to try to help. She does deserve forgiveness-Dont we all? But that doesnt mean she gets to come out and forget it ever happened-she might remember how tough mondays and any other days are and decide to shoot up a daycare full of infants and toddlers. I forgive u Brenda Ann but you should show you are an asset to society because you want to not because you want to get out. Be an asset from prison first and make sure you have an overload of therapy-maybe even shock therapy-oh well who cares what i think-

  21. Having been abused or having had a lousy childhood is no excuse for killing or taking a gun to innocent children. I was molested as a child, was bullied and tormented in school, and grew up with an alcoholic grandmother who threatened me with beatings over nothing, but you don’t see me doing what Brenda did. She deserves to stay locked up for life.

  22. I am sure prison agrees with her; she is obviously become a raging dyke.

  23. Mr. Wragg was my principal at Anderson Elementary school in the ’70’s. He was wonderful. For the first time, we had a principal that was there for the kids! Rest in Peace Mr. Wragg and thank you for being a great principal I’ll always remember you.

  24. My sister was sexually molested by my father from the age of 9 to 13, at which time she told a teacher.
    I came home one day to find cops at my door telling me my father had been arrested.
    My entire life changed from that point on.
    I just recently had a conversation with my sis, its something she will never get over, its been 27 years already.
    My sister would never have thought of shooting children for what my dad did.
    My sister was a victim, those kids that got shot were victims, the 2 men she shot dead were victims.
    There are such things as evil in this world, it does exist, and yet some people fail to see the difference between a person dishing out evil and inocents on the recieving end.
    So lets just release Brenda Spencer, and if she murders more people the moment she has another bad Monday, we’ll chalk it up to her being a poor misunderstood girl.
    Everyone is a victim, nobody is a perpertrator.

    • nobody is a perpertrator? So nobody went to Grover Cleveland Elementary and shot at children and killed anyone? You might want to tell the victim’s families this so that they can find their loved ones.

      Brenda knew exactly what she was doing and knew it was wrong. Your logic is illogical and stupid. But in using your logic, let one of your loved ones be murdered and then remember that the killer should just be let go and not face the consequences.

  25. Does anyone know the new name of Cleveland School? Thanks!

  26. @hex it closed in 83. i dont know if the building is used today though.

  27. I too attended Cleveland at the time of the shooting as well as my brother. I was sexually abused as a child and would never think of killing innocent people. Mr. Wragg was a gentle man and I remember Mike Suchar, our custodian who when my sandal broke, he took and fixed it for me…he also was repairing some musical instrument for our class (I was 9 so I am not sure what exactly it was he was fixing). Neither of these men deserved to die and I spent 4 hours in a bathroom with other kids, crammed packed as they wheeled our principal on a gurney past us covered in a white sheet. We were crawling across the playground to buses to the jr high school looking for our parents who I remember well my mother horrified, crying b/c my brother had not arrived as of yet. I am a therapist in prison, helping really disturbed people, I have empathy for them, but some of them belong in prison just the same…Brenda is one of those people. May she find her peace with God in prison and understand the consequence of her actions…just b/c someone lives in prison, doesn’t mean they can’t find their freedom…May God have mercy on her!

  28. Does anyone know the address of the old school or cross streets. How about Brenda’s address at the time?

  29. So disturbing and so sad and just so tragic, I literally have tears welling up in my eyes. I never really knew the story behind the song until just now and had never heard of this incident or knew it to be true. Like I say, oh so sad but I had to comment on how I had to chuckle reading one of the comments posted. The comment by GAVEN on Dec / 08 “i’m a kid i don’t want to die and i love mondays not like u” That just made me chuckle, I don’t know why, but wanted to share that. But this kid who shot these kids, she was just a kid herself, should she spend her whole life in jail? Maybe she is constitutionally incapable of feeling remorse and taking responsibility for what happened? Maybe she should get out now and have a chance at knowing what life could mean and what she stole from those all those people way back in 1979, maybe if she had a life she would appreciate it more? Just a thought… doesn’t do much good for anyone keeping someone in a cage their entire life, seems more cruel than her murders… More pernicious and insidious if you think about it… Like I say, just a thought. All so tragic…

  30. I actually sat next to her in 6th grade at that school and she was already showing signs of some sort of mental problems. She was a very quiet girl as I recall, but I do remember vividly one day I looked over and watched as she stuck a sharpened pencil into her wrist and it broke off the lead tip. I remember she gasped and our teacher ended up taking her to the nurse’s office. She came back later that day w/her wrist bandaged, but did not seem too bothered by it. Weird how certain memories stick with you over the years.

  31. [...] Grover ClevelandPresident Grover Cleveland : Health & Medical HistoryGrover Cleveland’s Deadly SecretWho killed GroverDead Presidents: Causes of DeathGrover Cleveland Elementary School shootings 1/29/79 San Diego … [...]

  32. In situations involving school shootings with shooters like Eric and Dylian (Columbine,99) And Brenda Spencer (Cleavland E. 79) It becomes easy to paint these people as monsters based on their dramatic actions and crimes,Whist the focus is to call them mad, and deam them monsters, No one ever voices the subject of “What did YOU all do to drive her TOO this lvl of maddness?” So who’s the real monster(s)? The person who commited the shooting, or the people who tirelesly tormented that person to feel they had to do so?

    • Really? You think the shooters are blameless? They are NOT. They each made a decision to kill people. A choice. Each of these you mentioned were premeditated. They did not just snap. And yes, they are monsters. They killed other human beings, including children. Brenda Spencer killed children. And you want to blame those children for their murders. Shame on you. These shooters need to take responsibility for their own actions. Yes, the Columbine killers are dead, but that was by their own hands. All those who shoot and kill people need to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviors and not blame everyone else for their decisions.

  33. [...] Grover Cleveland Elementary School shootings 1/29/1979 San Diego, CA *”I don’t like Mond… Given that I was 3 at the time I don't really remember it but I've heard of it. [...]

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