San Diego school shooting: She didn’t like Mondays (1979)

After shooting several people at a school in San Diego on January 29, 1979 — killing two adults and wounding nine others — Brenda Ann Spencer famously told a reporter her motive: “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 (police officer) I think and I want to shoot more. I’m having too much fun (to surrender).”

That explanation was memorialized in the Boomtown Rats song, “I Don’t Like Mondays,” written by Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof shortly after the attack. The song hit number 1 on the British charts in the summer of 1979, was one of the top 100 singles in the US around the same time, went on to win several UK music awards, and was even covered by singer Tori Amos in 2001. (See the video at the bottom of the page.)

Brenda was tried as an adult, convicted, and given a 25-to-life prison sentence. She’s still incarcerated in Chino, California, and will be eligible for her next parole hearing in 2019.

See one of the early news reports about the shooting below.

Teenager is charged in San Diego deaths

San Diego — A freckle-faced teen-age girl has been charged with 12 criminal counts including murder in connection with a sniper attack in the parking lot of Cleveland Elementary School that killed the principal and head custodian and wounded eight pupils.

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A petition filed Wednesday in Juvenile Court by the district attorney’s office accuses 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer of the shootings that also left a police officer wounded.

In the petition, Deputy District Attorney Charles L Patrick requested that Miss Spencer, who police say has a history of petty theft and drug abuse, be tried as an adult.

The petition also alleges “special circumstances,” which means that if she is tried as an adult and convicted of murder, she could be sentenced to life in state prison without parole.

If the case is handled in Juvenile Court, the girl could be free within seven years.

In addition to murder, the red-haired Patrick Henry High School junior was charged with nine counts of assault with intent to kill and one of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

Juvenile Court Judge William L Todd, Jr said he will probably set a date next week for a hearing on whether Miss Spencer will be tried as an adult.

Miss Spencer told reporters by telephone during the attack that she was doing it to “liven up” a boring Monday. Police SWAT team members arrested her following a 6-1/2 hour siege at the home she shared with her divorced father. Investigators said the .22-caliber rifle the girl lay down as she was arrested was a Christmas present from her father, Wallace Spencer, a supervisor of technical services at San Diego State University.

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Killed in the 20-minute hail of bullets were Principal Burton A Wragg, 53, and Michael Suchar, 56, chief custodian at the school, which is across the street from the Spencer’s home.

Wragg was hit when he went to the aid of a wounded 9-year-old girl, Suchar as he tried to help the fallen principal and Officer Robert Robb was shot through the neck while dragging wounded children to safety.

Robb was released from the hospital Wednesday with Charles “Cam” Miller, 9, who suffered a shoulder wound.

Christy Buell and Monica Selvig, both 9, were in satisfactory condition after transfer from intensive care and Mary Clark, 8, was in satisfactory condition with a wound in the abdomen. The other wounded youngsters were treated and released.


Boomtown Rats: I Don’t Like Mondays

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