Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rampage Ripples

On the half-month anniversary of the NIU shootings, the volume of rampage-style shootings and school violence stories have been on the increase. Yesterday, February 27, 2008, was no exception, with new incidents in Tennessee, Arkansas, and California, sweeping across the nation, from time zone to time zone.

Here is a summary of yesterday's events:

At Bristol, Tennessee, at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, February 27, Rusty L. Rumley, 26, fatally shot four people at a public housing complex, Edgemont Towers on Ash Street, before dying by suicide. The police initially said Rumley was captured shortly after the shooting when he crashed his car about 20 miles away. A short time later they said he was dead and had apparently shot himself. Bristol, considered to be the "Birthplace of Country Music," is on the Virginia-Tennessee border.

At Little Rock, Arkansas, at 2:10 p.m., on February 27th, shots were fired in a parking lot near University Theatre and Stabler Hall, hitting a young man who was walking about 70 yards from the University Theatre. The two suspects who shot the University of Arkansas student left the scene in a "gold vehicle." The victim was transported to a local hospital with injuries.

In South Los Angeles, at 3:15 p.m., on February 27th, at a bus stop, a gunman fired about ten times into a crowd of children and adults. Eight were wounded, including three 10-12 year old girls and a 49-year-old woman who were critically injured. A 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and two men, ages 48 and 68, had minor injuries. The gunman ran away and has not been found.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich asked state lawmakers to spend $40 million to raze Northern Illinois University's Cole Hall where five students were fatally shot on Valentine's Day. He suggested it be replaced with a new classroom and memorial building.

"Cole Hall will be torn down, but what happened there will never be forgotten," Blagojevich said at a news conference at the university in DeKalb, Illinois.

NIU President John Peters said he talked to Blagojevich the day after the shooting about what should be done with the building. In subsequent days, Peters said, students and others urged him to push for the building's removal to "consecrate" the site.

Further news yesterday came from MacNeil Environmental. The company is named in lawsuits by Red Lake school shooting survivors, and it denies allegations it failed to provide an adequate crisis plan for the Red Lake School District. Jeffrey James Weise, a 16-year-old Ojibwa who lived on the Red Lake Reservation and attended the school, opened fire at Red Lake High School, killing seven people before shooting himself on March 21, 2005. He had previously killed his grandfather (a tribal police officer) and his grandfather's girlfriend (also a tribal police officer) before going to the school. Fifteen people were wounded during and survived the Red Lake shooting.

Thanks to Todd and Richard for news items and links.

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