Friday, April 10, 2009

College Shootings: Greece & Michigan {Updated}

On Friday, April 10, 2009, there have been college shootings in Greece and the United States.

Dimitris Patmanidis had warned of the attack in an Internet posting, featuring 17 photographs of himself holding guns, three hours before the shootings, according to the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini.

A 19-year-old student of a vocational training college opened fire at the school in Rendi, western Athens, Greece, the morning of April 10th, seriously injuring a fellow student and hurting two passers-by before turning the gun on himself.

In an unprecedented incident for Greece that fueled debate about laws governing gun ownership, Dimitris Patmanidis, an ethnic Greek from Georgia, walked into the college, run by the Manpower Organization (OAED), wielding two guns and started shooting. He hit an 18-year-old student in the chest, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries, before leaving the building and firing at two passers-by whom he shot in the legs. According to witnesses, he then sat down on a street bench and shot himself in the head. At around 11.30 a.m., three hours after the attack, he died of his injuries in the hospital.

“It is the first time that this has happened in Greece – we have never seen anything like this before,” Dimitris Souras, a Health Ministry psychiatrist dispatched to support victims, told reporters.

A note found on Patmanidis when he was taken to the hospital accused his fellow students of picking on him and expressed the evident desperation that led him to carry out the shooting. “Until now, I have received nothing but rejection and contempt from those around me,” said the note, written in Greek. “I have no reason to continue living. But unluckily for you, I’m too selfish to leave and let you continue living.”

“For me, you are all mentally retarded garbage... Whoever I see on the morning of April 10 will immediately become a target,” he wrote, adding that he had been “rejected” by someone he had fallen in love with and felt “nothing but rejection and contempt” for all those around him.

Later in the day it emerged that Patmanidis had posted photographs on the Internet of himself menacingly holding various guns, eerily reminiscent of photographs by the perpetrators of shootings in the USA in recent years.

Police confirmed that the man seen on the posting on the MySpace social networking site was the 19-year-old gunman. They also said that the posting, which features 17 photographs, had been uploaded onto the site about three hours before the attack. Officers said that Patmanidis had apparently planned to kill several people because of the number of weapons he was carrying: two guns, two knives and some 80 bullets. Police, who confiscated a computer from Patmanidis’s home yesterday, were trying to determine where he acquired the two pistols used in the attack.

Fellow students described the gunman as a loner who was “generally very well-behaved” but reports emerged later (after the April 10 attack) that the 19-year-old had once tried to strangle a fellow student and had subsequently been placed under the surveillance of a college psychologist.

Also, on Friday, April 10, two students were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at a Dearborn, Michigan community college, police reported to the media.

Police responded to an emergency call of a gunshot on campus, said Dearborn Deputy Police Chief Gregg Brighton. As officers entered the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center, they heard another gunshot, Brighton said. A shotgun was used in the killings, he said.

Then two bodies were discovered in a room at a Henry Ford Community College building. Police found the bodies of Asia McGowan, 20, of Ecorse and Anthony Powell, 28, of Detroit in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center on the Dearborn campus on Friday afternoon. They had been in a theater class in the morning.

The school, which has about 17,000 commuter students, sent alerts through an e-mail and cell phone system and locked down the campus, said Marjorie Swan, Henry Ford's vice president/controller.

"Nothing like this has ever occurred on campus," Swan said.

She said the school west of Detroit wasn't as busy as usual because the shooting happened on Good Friday.

Christian Plonka, a 12-year-old who attends a theater program in the building, said he heard "one gunshot, and I saw someone getting pulled back into the room they were in."

Plonka and other students in the program ran into a parking lot at the adjacent University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, where they waited until police allowed them to leave, said the AP and other media, including the Detroit Free Press.

Thanks to S.M. for the alert.

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Anonymous said...

Greece was a Columbine Copycat who thankfully seems to have lost his nerve before shooting too many people, and there is a chance there won't even be fatalities.

The Michigan shooting seems to be more along the lines of a targeted attack between two people who knew each other, and not a typical school shooting.

skrambo said...

This is one dangerous copycat procession... Though, I imagine someone who is detached enough from reality to act out thoughts of murder and suicide isn't likely to be keeping up with the daily news. Perhaps some triggers are being set off?