Early on January 29, 1979, children started lining up outside of Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. Unbeknownst to them or the school’s staff, a teenaged girl was watching their every move from the dilapidated home she shared with her father across the street.
Mere moments later, this young woman would perform horrific act that would ultimately shake the world to its core. When she was asked what drove her to commit such a heinous crime, she gave the most chilling answer imaginable…
Monday, January 29, 1979 was just like any other weekday morning at San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School. Children were in the process of lining up outside the doors, and they were completely unaware of the danger looming nearby in the form of Brenda Ann Spencer.
In her decrepit home across the street that she shared with her father, the 16-year-old Brenda watched as the children formed a neat line and patiently waited to be allowed indoors to begin their classes.
That’s when Brenda grabbed her Ruger semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle—the one that she’d recently received as a gift—pointed it out of her front window, and began shooting.
By the end of her indiscriminate shooting spree, she’d fired 30 rounds at the children across the street. At that point, Brenda locked her doors, closed the windows, and hid herself from view.
Two people were killed in the aftermath of the unspeakable shooting, though, by a stroke of luck, the children were spared. There were also nine injuries, including a responding officer who was trying to protect the children from the gunfire.
The school’s principal, Burton Wragg, had been letting the children into the school when he was tragically killed. A custodian named Michael Suchar was the other casualty; he’d been attempting to usher the helpless children to safety when he was struck by Brenda’s bullets.
Several survivors reported that the shots came from the direction of Brenda’s house, and the authorities rushed to the home. Actually apprehending her, however, wasn’t going to be easy…
When negotiators approached her home and attempted to communicate with her, Brenda refused to talk. She also threatened that she was still armed to the teeth and would shoot them if provoked.
Her refusal to leave resulted in a lengthy standoff, during which she gave multiple interviews with reporters. When she was asked by she had committed the crime, she chillingly responded, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”
Finally, Brenda surrendered to police. Investigators entered the home and found empty beer cans and whiskey bottles scattered around the floor, though the teen maintained she was sober the entire time. Why would she commit this horrifying act?
Though she was still a minor, Brenda was tried as an adult for her heinous crime, including for two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Then, something surprising was revealed about the teen…
The public was stunned to learn that this wasn’t actually Brenda’s first foray into gun violence. In fact, it wasn’t even her first time shooting at Grover Cleveland Elementary School…
Just a year prior, Brenda attempted to use a BB gun to fire at the school. In the process, she shot through some of the school’s windows, shattering the glass. Although no one was injured, Brenda was sentenced to probation.
Following the previous incident, a probation officer suggested that Brenda be sent to a mental hospital, since she was both depressed and suicidal. It was her father, however, who refused to let it happen, because he believed he could treat her on his own.
What shocked people the most was that Brenda’s father was the one who’d purchased the automatic rifle for her. He’d bought it for her as a Christmas present… after she’d been placed on probation for the earlier incident.
Brenda, who was a fan of the television show SWAT, couldn’t believe that her father had given her the gun, either. “I asked for a radio and he bought me a gun,” she later revealed. “I felt like he wanted me to kill myself.” Still, she admitted to friends that she wanted to do something to make her famous.
On trial, Brenda’s attorney used the argument that her father’s treatment of her since she was a child was what eventually led to her committing such a heinous act of violence against schoolchildren. Still, the jury wasn’t convinced…
In the end, Brenda Spencer was tried as an adult for her heinous crimes, and she was subsequently sentenced to serve anywhere from 25 years to life in prison, depending on her behavior.
It might not have been the sentence the public was looking for—especially since Brenda’s target was an elementary school filled with young children—but they were at least relieved she was behind bars.
Since being sentenced, Brenda has been eligible for parole on numerous occasions. Yet no matter how much she attempted to convince the board, they’ve never let her off the hook for her crime. As of June 2017, she remains in prison.
Brenda’s school shooting crime was bad enough, but her callous response was truly disgusting. She clearly had no remorse for what she did all those years ago.
Share this utterly chilling story with your friends below.