7th Grader Kills Teacher
On Last Day Of School
In Florida
LAKE WORTH, Fla. (Reuters) - A 13-year-old student sent home early for throwing water balloons returned to his school and allegedly shot and killed a male teacher on Friday, minutes before classes ended on the last day of the school year, police and school authorities said.
Police named the suspected killer as Nathaniel Brazill, a 7th grade student at Lake Worth Middle School near Palm Beach and said the dead teacher was Barry Grunow, 35. Nobody else was hurt in the incident and the boy was detained shortly after the shooting.
The killing was the latest in a series of shooting incidents in U.S. schools that have led to increased calls for gun control laws.
Brazill was sent home early from school on Friday for disruptive behavior after throwing water balloons, but returned on his bicycle shortly before the end of the school day at around 3:26 p.m., a Lake Worth police statement said.
He went to a classroom, knocked on the door and asked to speak to two students, police said. When the teacher refused he pulled out a small handgun and fired a single shot at the teacher just outside the classroom, police said. Local school district spokeswoman Mabel Cardec said Grunow was shot in the face.
Police said the boy fled the scene but surrendered to a police officer about 1/4 mile from the school, which has 1,535 students from 11 to 15 years old. The boy gave up his weapon, which police said was a 25-caliber Raven semi-automatic pistol that had three rounds of ammunition remaining in it.
Investigators believed the boy obtained the gun on a visit to his grandfather, police said.
Cardec said the children were waiting for the bell to ring at the end of classes, signaling the start of the summer vacation, when the shooting occurred.
Grunow was married with three children and had worked with the Palm Beach County school district for 13 years.
Cardec said that the student was thought to have a good school record and was not known as a troubled child.
``It was said that he got suspended and it looks like he retaliated,'' she said.
Weeping students recounted their fear and shock to reporters just hours after the incident as police interviewed witnesses and anxious parents converged on the school to collect their children.
``How could he do that?'' asked one student, while another said that when they saw the gun, students hid under the tables in the classroom.
Florida's Gov. Jeb Bush called the shooting an ``unthinkable act'' and said the dead teacher was ``truly an unsung hero -- a teacher on the front lines of education in whom we placed our trust for the education of our children.''
``Adding to this tragedy is that the individual responsible for today's violent act was a young student,'' Bush said in a statement.
The worst incident in the series of school shootings was in April 1999 at Littleton, Colorado, when two students rampaged through Columbine High School, killing 13 people before taking their own lives.
The National Association of Attorneys General said there have been at least 14 U.S. school shooting incidents that have claimed casualties in the past seven years, including multiple killings in Oregon, Arkansas and Kentucky.
School shootings have contributed to concern among many Americans about the availability of weapons in a country where guns claim some 30,000 lives a year.
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Washington in a ''Million Mom March'' on May 14 to demand that Congress pass what they called ``common-sense gun control'' measures and try to stem the violence.
Gun rights defenders argue that more gun laws won't stop violence.
In Washington, a national teachers' group said adults were ''too cowardly'' to act to protect teachers and students.
``We are sick at heart. As educators, we bear the emotional scars of caring for children in a world where violence is too easy, guns too available, and adults too cowardly to take action to protect teachers and students,'' National Education Association President Bob Chase said.
``Palm Beach joins the list of school communities who've truly paid the highest price for the evils and despair that too often spill into our schools,'' Chase said in a written statement.
``We have lost a dear colleague, friend, and devoted member of our teaching family to senseless violence. The shock and horror is too much to bear,'' said Chase, whose group represents 2.5 million elementary, secondary, college and other educators.
What's Wrong With This Picture??
From Gary < 5-28-00
An interesting update to this story:
Last night (5/27/00) the national news feed to KOMOam 1000 (Seattle) reported that the student suspected of killing his teacher in Florida was an "A" student and a flute player and generally thought of as a "good boy". Of course it would be stereotyping to imply personality traits based on these aspects of the boy, nevertheless, it might be argued that on the face of it, this would not seem to be the profile of a killer. But even more curious, I thought, was this from the same report: When reporters were attempting to question the boy as he was being arrested by police, the boy was answering them in what the reporter called "a phony Spanish accent". The boy doesn't even speak Spanish. What was that all about? What's wrong with this whole picture? Very strange, indeed.


This Site Served by TheHostPros