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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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