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Va. Tech not the worst in horrific history of school massacres
Scripps Howard News Service


April 16, 2007

The massacre at Virginia Tech University Monday ranks as the worst such mass college killing in American history. But it is not the deadliest rampage at a U.S. school.

That terrible distinction belongs to the horror that befell the Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township, Mich. nearly 80 years ago.



On May 18, 1927, school board member Andrew Kehoe went on a rampage apparently triggered by his anger over a property tax that had been levied to build the school. Blaming the tax for pushing his farm into foreclosure, Kehoe killed his wife and torched his farm buildings. He turned next to the school building, where he had surreptitiously hidden dynamite over several weeks, and detonated the explosives.

When rescuers arrived, Kehoe drove to the school and detonated a firebomb he had with him in his car, killing himself and the school superintendent. Most of the 43 others killed in the bombings were children.

Here is a look at other mass killings at American schools:

- Sept. 15, 1959 - Disgruntled father Paul Orgeron in South Houston, Texas became enraged that he could not enroll his son, Dusty, at Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School because he lacked a birth certificate for the child. That morning he brought his son and a brown briefcase to the school, called children to gather into a circle around him, and then detonated the satchel. Six died - two students, a custodian, a teacher, Orgeron and his son.

- Aug. 1, 1966 - Architectural engineering student Charles Whitman ascended the 27-story tower at the University of Texas in Austin, from which he used a rifle and other firearms to pick off victims on the ground during a 96-minute spree that left 13 dead and 31 wounded. Whitman had killed his mother and wife the night before, and was himself shot dead atop the tower by police fire.

- July 12, 1976 - Custodian Edward Charles Allaway shot nine people in the library of California State University-Fullerton. Seven of the victims - all university employees - died. Allaway was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and committed to a California mental hospital.

- April 20, 1999 - Teenage students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stalked their prey at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., gunning down 12 students and a teacher, and wounding 24. The two teens, non-conformists apparently consumed by hate for other students and their school, then killed themselves.

- March 21, 2005 - High school student Jeffrey Weise shot and killed eight - including himself - and wounded seven at Red Lake High School in Beltrami County, Minn. Weise, who was an aficionado of violent computer games, had also killed his grandfather's girlfriend and his grandfather before heading to the school.


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