Cleveland Elementary School Shooting

A little after 8 a.m on Monday, Jan. 29, 1979, parents in San Carlos, a pleasant suburb of the California seaside city of San Diego, started...

The other Brenda Spencer - Influence

Brenda Kay Spencer
Brenda Kay Spencer 1974

Wally’s parents and sibling lived in Arkansas and Brenda vacationed there more than a few times.In the summer of 1974 a major crime was just coming to trial and was blasted on TV throughout the region. Young Brenda Spencer watched it intently. 

Another woman named Brenda Kay Spencer was being charged with murder. She had apparently shot and killed a police officer in a small town just outside of Little Rock. The crime was not far from her Wally's Brother's home.

Brenda Kay was a 23 year old single mother with a 4 year old son when she was convicted on federal forgery charges. She was sentenced to 18 months in a Kentucky farm prison.

In April 1974, the other Brenda and two female accomplices broke out of their facility and crossed the border into Arkansas. They wrangled some weapons and a car and robbed a grocery store. Brenda Kay says she was on her way to Arizona.

The cops were called and the 3 fugitives fled. The women fired at the pursuing police and killed Officer Greenwalt 51, on the interstate 40.

Eventually, they took refuge in a large family home just north of Hazen, Ark. Two families were held at gun point and the police surrounded the home. A short fruitless negotiation with the police began with Spencer falsely claiming they had already killed people inside. But about an hour later, the fugitives raced from the home with three hostages.

They were not familiar with the area and drove into a closed High School parking lot. Police surrounded them once again and began to talk them out. The hostages were released unharmed and the women slowly gave themselves up.  All three were sentenced to life in prison for the murder, burglary and kidnapping.

The crime was huge news in rural Little Rock and is still talked about in caf├ęs and bars in the area. Like the ‘other’ Brenda Spencer, this Brenda Spencer had made numerous threats and false claims during her stand-off.  Brenda was 12-year-old the summer they were convicted. 

Less than five years later the younger Brenda would make even bigger history.  

Brenda Kay SpencerBrenda Kay SpencerBrenda Kay Spencer
                       Local newspaper 1974         Brenda Kay 2016               with Lucy Smith 1973