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Evan Ramsey
Born February 8, 1981 (1981-02-08) (age 28)
Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A
Charge(s) murder, attempted murder
Penalty 198 years in prison
Status Incarcerated

Evan E. Ramsey (born February 8, 1981) was an Alaskan high school student who perpetrated a school shooting at Bethel Regional High School in Bethel, Alaska on February 19, 1997. During the shooting, two people were killed and two others were wounded. Ramsey is currently serving two 99-year prison sentences and will be eligible for parole in 2066.

Contents

Background

When Evan Ramsey was five years old, his father was imprisoned after a police-standoff, and his mother became an alcoholic. Evan and his family shortly after were forced to relocate around the Anchorage area after their house was set on fire. When Evan was seven, the Anchorage Department of Youth and Family Services removed Evan and his two brothers from his mother's custody and placed them in foster care. Evan was soon separated from his older brother, John, and lived in eleven foster homes between 1988 and 1991.[1] Ramsey and his younger brother were allegedly abused by several foster parents. Evan's younger brother, William, claimed that their foster brothers would pay other children to beat Evan as a sick game.

Evan was adopted with his brother at age 10, and settled in Bethel, Alaska with their foster mother. Evan Ramsey has suffered from depression since early childhood, and had attempted suicide when he was 10 years old.[1]

Motives

Ramsey was believed to have been frequently bullied at school.[2][3][4] According to his friends, Ramsey complained of being harassed and teased by other students, even to the extent of only addressing him as "Screech", a character from the TV series Saved by the Bell.[3]

Evan was not the first in his family to bring a firearm into a public place. In October 1986, Evan's father Don Ramsey went to the Anchorage Times newspaper office armed with an AR .180-223 rifle and a .44 Magnum revolver, and over 210 rounds of ammunition. While inside the building, Don Ramsey began taking hostages and was involved in a brief standoff with police until he surrendered. His motive for doing this was because he was angered that the Times refused to publish a political letter he had written. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and was paroled less than two weeks before his son Evan perpetrated the school shooting.[1]

Reports say in the two weeks prior to the incident, over 15 students knew of Ramsey's intention to commit a school shooting, and two actually assisted him.[5] One student named James Randall, taught him how to use a shotgun, and another named Matthew Charles told him of the infamy that would come.[1] Reports say that several students brought cameras to school on the day of the shooting, and that many students were watching the shooting from a library balcony overlooking the student commons area.[6]

The shooting

On Wednesday, February 19, 1997, Evan Ramsey armed himself with a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun provided to him by friend James Randall, and arrived at Bethel Regional High School by school bus. Ramsey approached the student commons area, brandishing the shotgun, and shot 15-year-old Josh Palacios in the abdomen, an immediate fatal wound. He had also shot and injured two other students. Reyne Athanas, an art teacher, entered the student commons area after hearing the gunshots. Athanas said she tried and failed to convince Ramsey to surrender. He then entered the main lobby, where he twice fatally shot principal Ron Edwards. Ramsey then retreated to the student commons area, shooting once at police. Ramsey later placed the shotgun barrel under his chin, and reportedly said, "I don't want to die," and laid the shotgun on the ground and surrendered without further incident.

Conclusion

Following his arrest, Ramsey claimed that he did not understand his actions would kill anyone.[5] His trial was delayed as prosecutors discussed whether Ramsey should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. The decision came to that Ramsey would be tried as an adult, and that his trial would be held in Anchorage. On December 2, 1998, Ramsey was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree attempted murder, and fifteen counts of third-degree assault. Judge Mark Isaac Wood sentenced him to 210 years in prison; on appeal, however, his sentence was reduced to two 99-year prison sentences.[7] He is currently being imprisoned at the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, and will be eligible for parole in 2066, when he will be 85 years old.

On February 15, 2006 Ramsey did an interview with Anderson Cooper titled In the Mind of a Killer, in which Ramsey blamed the video game Doom for the shooting.[8] His crime was also profiled on the Court TV series Anatomy of a Crime.

References

External links

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