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Brenda Ann Spencer
Born April 3, 1962 (1962-04-03) (age 47)
San Diego, California, USA
Charge(s) Murder, assault with a deadly weapon
Penalty 25 years to life imprisonment
Status Imprisoned at California Institution for Women
Parents Wallace Spencer
Dot Spencer (divorced 1972)

Brenda Ann Spencer (born April 3, 1962) is a convicted American murderer who carried out a shooting spree at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on January 29, 1979, killing two and injuring nine others. She is best known for her quote "I don't like Mondays."

Contents

Early years

Born in San Diego, California, Spencer took an early liking to guns and stories containing violence. In the Christmas of 1978, she was given a semi automatic .22 caliber rifle by her father, Wallace. [1] Neighbors claimed that Spencer had a history of petty theft, drug abuse, and truancy, and classmates alleged that the week before the shootings she had told them that she wanted "to do something big to get on TV."

Attack

On January 29, 1979, Spencer posted herself in a window in her home, and started shooting randomly at the Cleveland Elementary School, which stood just opposite. The shooting began as children were waiting outside for principal Burton Wragg to open the gate.[1] In the end, eight students and one police officer were injured, while principal Wragg and head custodian Mike Suchar were killed. Wragg was killed while trying to protect the youngsters whereas Suchar was killed trying to pull Wragg to safety.[1] One of the children, who was hit in the hand, talked about the incident on a local radio station.

After firing thirty rounds, Spencer barricaded herself inside her house for almost seven hours, warning police that she was going to "come out shooting."[1] Ultimately however she surrendered to police.[1] Although police officers found beer and whiskey bottles cluttered around the house, they stated that Spencer didn't appear to be intoxicated.[1]

When asked why she went on her rampage, she replied, "I just did it for the fun of it. I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig (policeman) I think and I want to shoot more. I'm having too much fun (to surrender)."[2] [1] She also said, "I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun"; "It was just like shooting ducks in a pond"' and "[The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings." At the time of the shootings, she was 16 years old.[3]

Conviction

Due to the seriousness of the crime, the then 16 year old Spencer was tried as an adult. She pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life, the sentence being served at The California Institution for Women in Chino, California.[2]After being made eligible for parole, she was denied four times, including on August 13, 2009,[4] and will not be eligible again until 2019.[5]

In 1993, Spencer claimed for the first time that she had been under the influence of drugs (PCP) and alcohol when she opened fire, adding that the state and her attorney conspired to hide her drug test results. Both former prosecutor Charles Patrick and Spencer's attorney, Michael McGlinn, vehemently denied that any evidence was hidden in her case.[6][7]

At a parole hearing in 2001, Spencer claimed for the first time that her violence grew out of an abusive home life in which her father beat and sexually abused her. The board's chairman, Brett Granlund, expressed doubt about the allegations, saying Spencer had never discussed them with counselors.[8]

In popular culture

Spencer's crime, her perceived lack of remorse, and lack of a serious explanation for her actions when she was captured, inspired the song "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Irish band The Boomtown Rats, written by Bob Geldof.[3]

The phrase "I don't Like MONDAYS" is also seen written on a wall in the introduction of The Breakfast Club.

References

External links








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