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Cleveland School massacre crime scene

WARNING!: Description below may be disturbing to some readers.


This view shows the back side of Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California.  It was the site of a school shooting that occurred in 1989 when 24-year-old Patrick Purdy, who had an extended criminal history, shot and killed five students and wounded 32 others. As first responders arrived at the scene, Purdy committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. His victims were predominantly Southeast Asian refugees.


On Tuesday morning, January 17, 1989, an anonymous person phoned the Stockton Police Department regarding a death threat against Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California. At noon that day, Patrick Purdy, a disturbed drifter and former Stockton resident, began his attack by setting his fireworks-laden Chevrolet station wagon on fire with a Molotov cocktail after parking it here, later causing the vehicle to explode. Purdy went to the school playground, where he began firing with a semi-automatic rifle from behind a portable building. Purdy fired 106 rounds in three minutes, killing five children and wounding thirty others, including one teacher.


All of those who died and many of the wounded were Cambodian and Vietnamese immigrants, who had come with their families to the U.S. as refugees. Purdy committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a pistol. He had carved the words "freedom", "victory", "Earthman", and "Hezbollah" on his rifle, and his flak jacket was inscribed with "PLO", "Libya", and "Death to the Great Satin".


The attack was the U.S. non-college school shooting with the highest number of fatalities and injuries until the Columbine High School massacre, and of all U.S. school shootings in the 1980s, it had the largest number of victims.  Strangely ten years prior on January 29, 1979, a school shooting occurred at another Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, perpetrated by a 16 year-old girl in which two were killed & nine others injured.  The girl, named Brenda Spencer, stated as her motive for killing, "I don't like Mondays.  This livens up the day."


The multiple murders at Stockton received national news coverage and spurred calls for regulation of semiautomatic weapons. Immediately following the shooting, Michael Jackson made a short visit to the school and met with some of the children affected by the event.


On September 14, 1989 (four months after the shooting) in Louisville, Kentucky, Joseph Wesbacker (who was allegedly inspired by Purdy) shot up his former workplace using an AK-56 that Purdy also used, killing 8 people and injured 12 others before committing suicide. When police raided his house, they found a TIME magazine issue with an article on Purdy.


In California, measures were taken to first define and then ban assault weapons, resulting in the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. On the federal level, Congressional legislators struggled with a way to ban weapons such as military-style rifles without banning sporting-type rifles. In 1989, the ATF issued a rule citing the lack of "sporting purpose" to ban importation of assault weapons. In July 1989, the G.H.W. Bush Administration made the import ban permanent. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994, and expired in 2004. President Bill Clinton signed another executive order in 1994 which banned importation of most firearms and ammunition from Mainland China.



Copyright: William L
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 13200x6600
Taken: 19/08/2023
Uploaded: 25/10/2023


Tags: cleveland elementary school; stockton; california; massacre; shooting; crime scene; murders; homicides; mental health; central valley; guns; violence; solved; hate crime
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