Brenda Spencer – The girl who hated Monday so much she began shooting people

by Staff writer

Brenda Ann Spencer is the first modern school shooter ever known.

On January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed two people and wounded nine when she fired on San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a .22-caliber rifle from her family’s house across the street.

The two victims were Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar.

Eight students and a police officer were wounded.

Spencer pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

When asked why she did it, she said the often quoted: “I just don’t like Mondays.”

At the time she also told negotiators, “It was a lot of fun seeing children shot.”

During the shooting, a reporter phoned houses near the school looking for information about what was going on. He reached Spencer, who freely admitted that she was the one doing the shooting.

When asked why she was doing what she was doing, one of the things she was said to have told him was: “I don’t like Mondays.”

Spencer lived in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego, California in a house across the street from Grover Cleveland Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District.

Aged 16, she was 5′ 2″ tall, unusually thin, and had bright red hair; a classmate described her as “pretty crummy looking”.

Acquaintances later said Spencer expressed negative attitudes toward police, and had talked about shooting one. Teachers described her as introverted; sometimes they inquired if she was awake.

Later, during tests while she was in custody, it was discovered Spencer had an injury to the temporal lobe of her brain, attributed to an accident on her bicycle.

Spencer excelled in photography, winning first prize in a Humane Society competition.

After her parents separated, she lived with her father, Wallace Spencer, in virtual poverty; they slept on a single mattress on the living room floor.

Police later found half empty alcohol bottles throughout the house.

In 2001 she accused her father of having drunkenly subjected her to beatings and sexual abuse. He said the allegations were not true.

Spencer was cited as the inspiration for the song “I Don’t Like Mondays,” written by Bob Geldof for his band the Boomtown Rats, which was released later that year.

I Don’t Like Mondays was also the title of a 2006 television documentary about the event.

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