US killings blamed on jilted love;Murder

27th March 1998 at 00:00
A 13-year-old Arkansas boy who was reportedly jilted by his girlfriend hid with his 11-year-old cousin in woods before luring classmates outside with a false fire alarm and shooting dead four students and a teacher.

Ten students and a teacher were injured, six of them critically. It was the third fatal shooting incident in a US school in five months, bringing the death toll to nine.

"I do think we've reached a point where we have to analyse these incidents to see whether or not we can learn anything," said President Clinton.

Flowers and candles were left outside the Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, after Tuesday's shootings. Classes were cancelled indefinitely.

Authorities said Mitchell Johnson, 13, and his cousin, Andrew Golden, 11, donned camouflage gear and armed themselves with rifles before Golden triggered the school's fire alarm. As classmates and teachers filed outside 27 shots were fired at them.

One student Brandy George said: "We thought it was just firecrackers," then he said, "I saw one of my teachers get shot." Classmate, Jamie Clevenger, said Johnson had said he "had a lot of killing to do".

Three 12-year-olds and an 11-year-old, all girls, were killed and pregnant teacher Shannon Wright, 32, who was shot as she tried to shield a student from a bullet.

"There's no explanation, in my opinion, why an 11-year-old or 13-year-old would do something like this," said Craighead County Sheriff Dale Haas.

Prosecutors were deciding if the boys would be tried as adults. Under Arkansas law, children under 14 who are convicted of a crime must be released once they turn 18.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today