In 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on Grover Cleveland Elementary School, San Diego, California, shooting eight children and three adults in a 20-minute killing spree which ended up killing the school’s principal, Burton Wragg, and the caretaker, Mike Suchar.
The gun-woman, who lived with epilepsy and claimed to be “gay from birth”, was just 16 at the time and was living in poverty with her father following his separation with her mother.
Spencer’s shooting became particularly notorious for inspiring Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, to write “I Don’t Like Mondays”.
In a tense six-hour stand with police prior to her being arrested, a reporter called and asked what her motive was, to which she replied, “I just don’t like Mondaysâ¦ I did this because it’s a way to cheer up the day.”
Ultimately, she surrendered and left the house, reportedly after being promised a Burger King meal by negotiators.
The incident is also known as the Grover Cleveland Elementary School Shooting and Spencer is the first modern school shooter ever in history.
Spencer was charged in court as an adult in 1980 and pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, receiving a life-with-parole sentence. She has been denied release from prison several times, but is scheduled for another parole hearing in 2021.
Now aged 57, Spencer has been inducted into the Golden Girls club at the California Institution For Womenâa program at the 1,800-prisoner facility in Riverside County, California, which affords special privileges to those who voluntarily join once they turn 55.
The Boomtown Rats released the single “I Don’t Like Mondays” in July 1979. The song was a number one single in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks during the summer of 1979, and ranks as the sixth biggest hit of the UK in 1979.
Photos: AAP (black and white), The San Diego Union-Tribune & Daily Mail UK (colour).
Sources: Yahoo News Australia, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Daily Mail UK, Wikipedia.
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