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The Worst Campus Massacres

by Kevin Caruso

The horrible massacre at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, was the worst campus massacre in our history.

Below are some of the other horrible massacres that have occurred on our campuses.

Murder-Suicide at Shepherd UniversitySept. 2, 2006

Douglas W. Pennington, 49, murdered his two sons, Logan P. Pennington, 26, and Benjamin M. Pennington, 24, then killed himself during a visit to the campus of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Murder-Suicide at the University of Arizona Nursing CollegeOct. 28, 2002

Robert Flores, 40, a student at the nursing college at the University of Arizona murdered three of his instructors and then killed himself.

Murder at the Appalachian School of LawJan. 16, 2002

Peter Odighizuwa, 42, after flunking out of the Appalachian School of Law, returned to the school and murdered three people: Anthony Sutin, 43, the dean; Thomas Blackwell, 41, a professor; and Angela Denise Dales, 33, a student.

Heroic students tackled Odighizuwa, preventing him from murdering any one else.

Murder-Suicide at the University of ArkansasAugust 28, 2000

James Easton Kelly, 36, a graduate student at the University of Arkansas, became deeply enraged after he was dropped from a doctoral program that he had been working on for ten years; Kelly murdered the professor who was overseeing his work, John Locke, 67, then killed himself.

Murder at San Diego State University – August 15, 1996

Frederick Martin Davidson, 36, a graduate student at San Diego State University, was preparing to defend his master’s thesis for the second time when he murdered three of his professors: Chen Liang, Constantinos Lyrintzis and D. Preston Lowery III. He pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and is serving a life term in state prison.

Murder-Suicide at the University of Iowa – November 1, 1991

Gang Lu, 28, a graduate student from China studying at the University of Iowa, became enraged after not receiving an academic honor; he murdered five people: Anne Cleary,

Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dwight R. Nicholson, department chair; Robert Alan Smith, an associate professor; Linhua Shan, a student; Christopher K. Goertz, an advisor.

Murder at California State University at Fullerton – July 12, 1976

Edward Charles Allaway, a custodian at California State University, Fullerton, murdered seven fellow employees and wounded two others. Allaway was committed to a state mental hospital, where he remains today

(In 2006, 30 years after the murders, the mother of one of the victims spoke with Allaway. The conversation can be found below.)

Massacre at Kent State – May 4, 1970

A group of National Guardsmen fired 67 times into a crowd of unarmed student protesters from a distance of about 60 feet, killing four students and injuring nine others. The students were protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. No criminal action was taken against any of the National Guardsmen.

Massacre at the University of Texas at Austin – August 1, 1966

(The Tower Sniper)

Charles Whitman, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, ascended the University’s 27-story tower with a small arsenal of weapons and began shooting at people below; he killed 15 people and wounded another 31. Two police officers climbed the tower and shot Whitman to death.

An autopsy showed that Whitman had a brain tumor, which may have contributed to his actions. Whitman also murdered his mother and wife the night before the rampage.

In 2006, Patricia Almazaon met with Edward Allaway, the custodian who murdered her father 30 years prior (see above: Murder at California State University at Fullerton – July 12, 1976). They talked in the state mental hospital where Allaway is confined. Here is that conversation:

“What would you prefer I call you?” said Almazan.

“Ed would be fine.”

“I'm Pat. I'm sure you know.”

“Did you know that my father, like you, was a Marine?”

“No,” Allaway said. “I had no background on any.”

“That he fought in World War II and the Korean War? And that you gunned him down?”


“You shot him three times in the back and the back of the head. And I wonder why you had to be so determined that he was dead.”

“If I had believed that you were just a crazy person, that you just happened on campus and just started indiscriminately shooting, I could have laid my father to rest 30 years ago,” she said. “But that's not the case.”

“I really, honestly have to get at the truth in order for me to rest,” she said. “And in order ...In order for my father's soul to get where it has to get.”

“Tell me the truth,” Almazan said, adding: “I'm in prison for as long as you are.”

“You're right,” Allaway said.

“I really don't have a whole lot of answers I was insane at the time, he said, “and when you're insane, there's just not a good reason or rhyme how things work out.”

“These were people that you worked with, that you knew, that you sat and spoke with many times,” she said.

“Absolutely. And I kidded with them, laughed with them, worked with them; I ate lunch with them.”

“Why did you shoot my dad three times in the back?”

“I have no idea,” Allaway said. “I don't think it's a good thing for me to not be able to remember, but ... I don't remember hurting those people – killing them.”

“I know you're not going to tell me the truth,” she said. “I know that now. I knew from the onset.”

“No,” Allaway said. “I think you're finding that I don't really have all the answers.”

“You killed a part of every one of us,” Almazan said.

“Very true. You're right.”

Almazan said, “I loved my father very much, and you just have no idea how much I miss him.”

“You had no right to do what you did,” Almazan said.


“Your father didn't deserve what happened,” said Allaway. “I didn't do it because he was your father. I didn't do it because he was an evil person. I didn't do it because I knew him.”

“It's a hell of a word to say, but I was totally insane,” he said. “That's all I can say. Honestly.”

He added: “If I knew it was your father who was standing in front of me that morning, he'd be alive today. And so would the rest of them.”

“OK,” Almazan said.

“I've done what I can do this far,” Almazan said. "I wanted to see my father's murderer, and I'm going to move on now."

“Good,” Allaway said.

“But if you ever – make no mistake – ever try to get out, I will be there, every single day until I die, to see that you don't. Because you took a lot of people's freedom.”

Almazan and her husband then got up and left.

Almazan said she never will forgive Allaway.

“I looked into his eyes,”' she said, “and there was no soul there.”


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