The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 71
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 71

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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Page 71
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THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 11A Five wounded students, i , Si - : . teacher kept in hospital I S3 SNIPERS We all walked outside, and they started shooting. ' AMBER VANOVEN Student From 1A "This is the worst thing I had ever seen." Officers with the sheriff s department arrested the two boys as they ran through a wooded area near the school, apparently heading for a white van that was parked nearby. Officials would not release the names of the boys 9 ' ' ( ill . fi 1' " ): Other shootings Some recent shootings at U.S. schools: B DEC. 1, 1997 A youth opens fire on a student prayer circle in a hallway at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky. Three students are killed and five others wounded. A 14-year-old student is arrested. OCT. 1, 1997 A 16-year-old outcast in Pearl, Miss., is accused of killing his mother, then going to school and shooting nine students. Two of them died, including the boy's ex-girlfriend. Authorities later accuse six friends of conspiracy, saying the suspects were part of a group that dabbled in satanism. FEB. 2, 1996 A 14-year-old student turned an assault rifle on his algebra class, killing two classmates and a teacher, in the central Washington city of Moses Lake. Barry Lou-kaitis was sentenced to two mandatory life terms for the attack at Frontier Junior High School. JAN. 18, 1993 Scott Pennington, 17, walked into Deanna McDavid's seventh-period English class at East Carter High School in Grayson, Ky., and shot her in the head. He LEIGH DAUGHTRIDGEThe Commercial-Appeal Emergency workers remove a victim in the shooting outside Westside Middle School on Tuesday. Someone tripped a fire alarm, bringing students and teachers into the snipers' line of fire. Vanoven said. "I saw a teacher step in front of someone else and get shot." While police did not identify the two boys, students said they knew one of them as an 11-year-old who attended the school and had bragged that he was going to shoot all the girls that had ever broken up with him. Joshua Reynolds, a 13-year-old seventh grader, said the boy, "had told a bunch of people that he was going to kill them. He bragged a lot because he was into gangs and stuff," he said. "He had said he was mad at everybody and that he was going to kill them. Nobody believed him." Another student, Charles Vanoven, said the 11-year-old boy who was arrested "told me yesterday that all the people that broke up with him, he was going to go to school and kill them." Vanoven said that the 11-year-old pulled a knife on another student in a school locker room the day before the ambush. St. Bernards Regional Medical Center said one teacher was in critical condition Tuesday night. Five students were in stable condition and four more were treated and released. Only one of the students shot was a boy. because they are minors. ' ' Officer Terry McNatt, who was present during the arrest, said he knew one of the students from an anti-drug class he taught in fjie school. He said both the boys were calm as officers took them into custody. "They didn't say anything," McNatt said. Police were uncertain whether anyone else was involved in the shootings, but said a third individual might have pulled the alarm to lure the students outside where the two boys were waiting. The two boys were apparently less than 100 yards from the school when they started firing as the students walked down a white cement sidewalk. A teacher's aide, Jennifer Gookin, said she ran out onto the playground after hearing someone had been shot. ,'There were people laying everywhere. Blood was everywhere," she said. "It was like it was all going on in slow motion. It was like this is not happening. This is not supposed to happen at Westside." f'We all walked outside, and they started shooting," Amber Linda Graham, a psychologist for Craighead County Schools, described shock and then pandemonium at the school in the wake of the shooting. "The kids were scared bewildered and a little angry. They were wanting their mommas," she said. "Then the parents came, and they were upset too." Children huddled in the school's gym Tuesday afternoon until parents, who were flocking to the school in droves, arrived to bring them home. Four hours after the shooting, one dazed girl still sat in the gym being gently rocked back and forth by her mother. The attack left residents of Jonesboro, a town of 46,000 roughly 130 miles northeast of Little Rock, reeling, and wondering why. Some wondered if the students were copying their crime from previous headlines. President Clinton, on a visit to Kampala, Uganda, said in a statement that he and the first lady were "deeply shocked and heartbroken." "We don't know now, and we may never fully understand, what could have driven two youths to deliberately shoot into a crowd," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the entire Jonesboro community." Gov. Mike Huckabee said he was angry, as a parent, that such a tragedy could happen at a public school. "It makes me angry not so much at individual children that have done it as much as angry at a world in which such a thing can happen," he said. Arkansas law does not prohibit minors from possessing shotguns or rifles, but it does bar people younger than 21 from possessing handguns. Other laws prohibit anyone from possessing a gun on public property or with criminal intent. The Associated Press contributed to this report. then shot janitor Marvin Hicks in the abdomen. 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