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...

Cleveland Elementary School Shooting

Brenda SpencerBrenda SpencerBrenda Spencer
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 drive to drop their children off at school, as older students began walking there. Before the day was much older, this peaceful scene erupted into the site of ultimate horror -- a rapid-fire rifle attack on an elementary school by a teenage girl that shocked America and the world.

As children filed into Grover Cleveland Elementary,16-year-old named Brenda Spencer unleashed a hail of gunfire on the school across the street from her home. She killed two adults, including the school’s principal, and injured eight children and a police officer.

Children were holed up in the school before being carefully bused away from the rear playground.   

While she was still firing, a San Diego Evening Tribune reporter reached Spencer by telephone. Asked why she was shooting, she calmly explained she had done it because “I don’t like Mondays.”

The horrific incident sparked Bob Geldof, leader of The Boomtown Rats, to write the song: “I Don’t Like Mondays”. It became a huge world-wide hit and sparked the rise of the then-little-known Irish rock group to global star status. The song notably did not make the Top 40 in the United States, banned by many radio stations for the sad memories it unleashed.

Along with her pellet gun, Brenda used the rifle and ammunition her father and brother gave her for Christmas the month prior. The house was not littered with alcohol and she did not sleep in the same bed as her father, as routinely reported. 

Brenda is in the California Institute for Women in Corona CA. Her next parole hearing is Sept 2021. 

Victims: 

Charles A 'Cam' Miller         Student - 9 years old

Christy Lynn Buell                    Student - 9 years old

Mary Kathleen Clark                Student - 8 years old

Monika Reece Selvig                Student - 9 years old

Greg Carl Verner                 Student - 8 years old

Crystal Faith Hardy                 Student -10 years old

Audrey Stites                         Student - 7 Years old

Julie Ann Robles                 Student - 10 years old

Burton Wragg                         Principal - 53 Years old (killed)

Michael J Suchar                     Custodian - 56 Years old (killed)

Robert Raymond Robb            Police Officer - 28 Years old 

 Brenda SpencerBrenda SpencerBrenda Spencer

Classroom facing the road                              Mugshot                                SWAT after arrest        

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