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...

Brenda's best friends

Brenda Spencer Yearbook 1978

Brenda Spencer Yearbook 1978

Despite popular belief Brenda had a number of friends growing up in San Carlos, San Diego. A few were interviewed by the police after her arrest and at least one was said to have given statements in the civil suit brought by the victims.

Brenda's father indicated there were a few friends who spent the night at their house and also came with them to their mountain property. Brant Flemming, the next door neighbor is the most notable friend of Brenda's. He was 3 1/2 years younger and was arrested with her in 1975 and 1978 for shoplifting and vandalism.

Brenda Spencer Yearbook 1978 
Susie Stewart was her best friend in Jr High and first year at Patrick Henry. She was with Brenda during her bike accident and head injury in 1975. They drifted apart when Brenda attended another school for a semester and they did not have classes together in 1978. Her family rented a house on Mission Beach each summer and had Brenda as a guest. Susie also visited juvenile hall with Wally Spencer and wrote to Brenda for many years. Curiously, Wally called her 'Susan' instead of her commonly used name when interviewed by police. They believed he was purposely trying to distance himself from her. But why?

Brenda Spencer Yearbook 1978

Dawn White was thought to be Brenda's good friend by her father. Other friends disputed this despite Wally meeting her many times and knew her by name. She lived quite close to the Spencer's and was known by Brenda's brother and sister. Dawn told the SD Union newspaper that she was one of her best friends and "“I went into the desert with her last year to go target shooting and she killed a lot of lizards and squirrels. She almost never missed.”

Brenda Spencer Yearbook 1978

Shari Stuchlik was Brenda's best friend in Elementary and Jr High School.She lived down the road and was friendly with the entire family. Susie Stewart was jealous of Shari and tried to keep her away from Brenda once they were in Jr High School. Shari was close to Brenda at the time she moved from her mom's to her dad's after they split up.

Brenda Spencer yearbook 1978

Tracy Mills 16, described herself as a friend at high school to the newspapers saying, “She always talked about getting wasted on drugs, and about shoplifting all the time. She seemed proud of the fact that she was a good shoplifter."  Tracy also said, “She always seemed like a radical,” a statement that has been incorrectly attributed to a youth councilor. Wally said she was the last girl to visit Brenda at home. 

Brant Flemming 1980 Brant Flemming 1980

Roderick Brant Flemming was Brenda's next door neighbor and lived with his sister and mother. His former step-father was a police office but had left the home tow years before the shooting. The Flemmings had a swimming pool and many of the neighbor kids came over to swim on hot summer days. Brenda was one of the many kids there.

Brant and Brenda struck up an unusual friendship. She was over three years older but they were similar in small stature and spent a lot of time together. They vandalized Cleveland Elementary the year before she shot from her front door. They were also arrested stealing gun ammunition at local drug store years before.

His life was changed forever by Brenda when she showed him drugs in the fort she built in the garage. His family moved away to Santee the summer of 1978 but they stayed in touch. Brant rode his bike more than a hour to visit the weekend before the shooting. They spent that Saturday harassing the witnesses who saw them vandalize the school. 

After Brenda was arrested, Brant was questioned by the police but no further action was taken against him. He was clearly Brenda's follower but probably her best friend.Brant briefly joined the Speech Team in high school but eventually battled drugs and dropped out. He sadly died in a single vehicle car crash in 1993. Brant was so little when he met Brenda.

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