Monday, December 17, 2012

Eyewitness to Murder, Part 3

Sandy Hook Elementary School Students

Mass Shootings in the US in 2012

In the wake of the Sandy Hook killings, I did a little research on some of the other mass shooting incidents in the United States this year.

  1. December 15: Birmingham, Alabama triple killing, four dead including the shooter.
  2. December 15: St. Vincent’s Hospital (also Birmingham, Alabama), three wounded, shooter killed.
  3. December 14: Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, 26 dead at the scene, including 20 children; one offsite death; shooter dead.
  4. December 11: Happy Valley shopping mall shooting, two killed including the shooter, one injured.
  5. October 21: Brookfield, Wisconsin, spa killing, three killed, four injured; shooter killed himself.
  6. September 27: Accent Signage Systems shooting, eight injured and dead including the killer.
  7. August 13: College Station, Texas, three killed including the shooter, four injured.
  8. August 5: Sikh Temple shooting, ten injured and killed including the shooter.
  9. July 20: Aurora Theater shooting, seventy injured and killed; shooter arrested.
  10. May 30: Seattle café shooting, seven injured and killed including the shooter.
  11. April 6: Tulsa spree killing, three killed, two injured, shooters arrested.
  12. April 2: Oikos University killings, ten injured and killed; shooter arrested.
  13. March 8: Duquesne University shooting, two killed including the shooter, seven injured.
  14. February 27: Chardon High School shooting, three killed, two injured, shooter arrested.
  15. February 21: Su Jung Health Sauna shooting, five injured and killed including the shooter.

At least that’s what turned up in a few minutes of Google searching. There may well be more. In fact, in the last thirty years, there have been at least 62 such incidents. That doesn’t include my own encounter with mass murder, which took place more than thirty years ago.

On April 13, 1975, Michael Edward Pearch dressed in his Army fatigues, strapped a machete to his chest, shrugged on a knapsack with 250 rounds of ammunition, and loaded his .45 automatic pistol. He drove to the nearby Wheaton Plaza shopping mall and began killing. Within the next half hour, he shot seven people, all African-American. Two of them died. I don’t want to mention Pearch’s name without also listing his victims, so here they are.

  • John L. Sligh, 43, of Rockville, Maryland: died.
  • Laureen D. Sligh, 40, his wife: wounded.
  • Dr. Ralph C. Gomes, also of Rockville: minor injuries when his car crashed.
  • Harold S. Navy, Jr., 17: wounded.
  • Connie L. Stanley, 42, of Washington, DC: killed.
  • Rosalyn Stanley, 26, of Annapolis, Maryland: wounded.
  • Bryant Lamont Williams, 20, of Rockville: wounded.

Pearch died at the hands of the police; “suicide by cop.”

Two years ago, I told that story on my blog, and last month I summarized some of my encounters with others touched by the same experience. In October of this year, I heard from Mark Felsher, who had known the killer, Michael Edward Pearch. That story will appear over the next two days.

More to come...

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