Those who are old enough to have been living in San Diego 40 years ago today most likely remember what the big news was on this day, January 29 th in 1979.
One of the first school shootings in America. it happened at Cleveland Elementary School in the quiet neighborhood of San Carlos.
A 16 year old girl named Brenda Spencer who lived across the street from the school grabbed a rifle her father had given her as a gift for Christmas just a month before and started shooting at students arriving at school that morning.The principal and a custodian were killed, eight kids and a police officer were wounded but lived.
The motive for the shooting came from the words of the teenager herself who told a reporter that she did it because she didn’t like Mondays and it was a way to cheer up her day.
Brenda Spencer is now 56 years old, and remains in prison where she has been all these years and repeatedly denied parole.
Cleveland Elementary school was closed by the San Diego School District in 1983.
But the memories have never gone away for those families who lost loved ones or who were wounded on that day, at a time when no one could have ever predicted the many school shootings across our country that would happen over the four decades.
May there one day come a day when school shootings are no longer in the news.