School Deaths: 2002-2003


2002-2003 School Year Incidents
Identified by National School Safety and Security Services, Inc.*
Cleveland, Ohio

Note: This page and the work represented herein is copy-protected and reflects the proprietary in-house research conducted by National School Safety and Security Services.  It may not be reproduced or otherwise used in any form without the advanced written permission of Kenneth S. Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services.

* School-related deaths, school shootings, and school crisis incidents identified through print and electronic news sources nationwide by Kenneth S. Trump, President, National School Safety and Security Services, Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio). This is not presented as an exhaustive list or as a scientific study. Additional incidents may be added pending review of additional items on file.

For purposes of this listing, the 2002-2003 school year is considered to be from August 1, 2002, through July 31, 2003. In addition to school-related violent deaths, this page provides a sample of school shootings that did not result in death, a sample of bomb and bomb threat-related incidents, and a sample of other incidents of school-related crime, violence, and crisis situations.

For purposes of this monitoring report, school-related violent deaths are homicides, suicides, or other violent, non-accidental deaths in the United States in which a fatal injury occurs:

1)  inside a school, on school property, on or immediately around (and associated with) a school bus, or in the immediate area (and associated with) a K-12 elementary or secondary public, private, or parochial school;

2) on the way to or from a school for a school session;

3) while attending, or on the way to or from, a school-sponsored event;

4)  as a clear result of school-related incidents/conflicts, functions, activities, regardless of whether on or off actual school property;

Identified School-Related Violent Deaths:  2002-2003 School Year

Total Deaths:  16

Breakdown by Type:

  • Shooting:  3
  • Suicides: 6
  • Murder-Suicide:  2
  • Fight-Related: 0
  • Stabbing: 4
  • Other: 1

October 4, 2002:  San Antonio, TX
A 13-year-old 8th grade female middle school student fatally shot herself in the left temple with a 9mm handgun in front of a group of friends in the school parking lot.

November 19, 2002:  Hoover, AL
A 17-year-old male high school student was arrested and charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of another 17-year-old male student.  The males were reportedly fighting in a hallway around 10:45am when the suspect pulled a knife and stabbed the victim.  The suspect was immediately taken into custody by a school resource officer.

December 12, 2002:  Carson, WA
A 13-year-old male fired a rifle shot into a middle school, injuring two students with broken glass, and then used the gun to kill himself according to police reports.

December 16, 2002:  Chicago, IL
An 18-year-old male high school basketball team captain was fatally shot outside of Englewood High School, while trying to protect his sister from two other male students, according to school and police officials.  His 17-year-old sister was shot in the leg during the incident.

January 17, 2003:  Albuquerque, NM
A 28-year-old occupational therapist was killed by blunt trauma to the head, according to reports, after being locked out of her portable classroom.  A 20-year-old custodian was arrested and charged for the murder.

January 21, 2003:  Fontana, CA
A 50-year-old school district maintenance worker recently accused of child molestation hanged himself at an elementary school before the start of school.  A teacher found him hanging from a gazebo in a quad area of the elementary school before 7am.  No students were present and school was canceled.

February 10, 2003:  Camden, AL
A 16-year-old high school female was stabbed to death as she was about to board a school bus to go home.  Another teenage girl was arrested in her death.

March 5, 2003:  Livingston, AL
A 17-year-old male was fatally stabbed in the chest during a fight around 8am in a high school cafeteria.  Another 17-year-old male student was arrested and charged with murder.

March 28, 2003:  Austin, TX
A 15-year-old high school female was fatally stabbed with an 11-inch butcher knife in a school hallway by a 16-year-old ex-boyfriend, according to authorities.

April 14, 2003:  New Orleans, LA
A 15-year-old male was shot several times in the head and body, and died, as three assailants with an AK-47 assault rifle and two handguns stormed the building.  Four other students were also hurt.

April 15, 2003: Minneapolis, MN
A 16-year-old male student was shot and killed at a bus stop while awaiting a school bus around 8:00am.  Around 7:00am, a 15-year-old suffered minor injuries during a drive-by shooting in an unrelated incident.

April 16, 2003:  Addison, Texas
A 12-year-old sixth grade female student reportedly committed suicide by shooting herself in a private school restroom.

April 24, 2003: Red Lion, PA
A 14-year-old male junior high school student shot and killed his principal inside a crowded cafeteria and then killed himself with a second gun, according to police.

May 13, 2003:  Sidman, PA
An 18-year-old male high school senior shot and killed himself in his parked car outside of the school.

June 4, 2003:  Wellsboro, PA
A 12-year-old, fifth-grade male middle school student committed suicide in the school’s first floor restroom.  The boy reportedly brought multiple guns, including a rifle, to the school in a duffel bag.  Students were reportedly allowed to bring duffel bags because of a year-end field trip to an area swimming pool.


Sample of Reported
School-Related Shootings Not Resulting in Deaths

A sample of school-related shootings occurring nationwide in the 2002-2003 school year not resulting in death is listed below.  It should be noted that this is only a sample and and is not intended to include all of the many incidents involving firearms confiscated but not used, and other weapons possession or use that occur in U.S. schools.  List includes individuals shot but not killed and firearms discharged in schools, on school campuses and buses, at school-sponsored events, to and from school involving students, and as a clear result of school-related incidents/conflicts.

November 21, 2002: Chicago, IL
A veteran special education administrator was grazed by a bullet which shattered her car window as she drove away from Austin Community Academy High School around 10:00am.

November 22, 2002:  Dallas, TX
A 15-year-old male high school student was shot as he and fellow students tried to wrestle a gun away from another 14-year-old student.  The suspect reportedly had fled from the assistant principal and students tackled him in front of a house near the school, during which time the suspect fired about five shots, striking the victim.

November 22, 2002:  Dallas, TX
A 16-year-old high school student was shot at by someone in a passing vehicle as he was walking down the street leaving school at 2:30pm.

January 22, 2003: Providence, RI
A 12th-grade male student was arrested for allegedly firing a .22 caliber gun inside the school’s cafeteria after an assistant principal had broken up a fight.  The shot was fired toward the ceiling and no one was injured, according to reports.

February 5, 2003:  Westminster, CO
A 14-year-old male freshman was taken into custody after several shots were fired in a high school courtyard after the male reportedly had a confrontation with another student.  A school resource officer chased and apprehended the suspect.

February 19, 2003:  Akron, OH
Two male high school teens were arrested after one of them took a gun to school and the other fired it, hitting a locker.

March 17, 2003:  Guttenberg, IA
A 17-year-old walked into his high school principal’s office, thanked the principal for listening to his problems, said talking would no longer help, and then pulled out a .22 caliber rifle from underneath his coat and shot himself in the stomach, according to reports.  The male was expected to recover.

April 1, 2003:  Washington, DC
A 16-year-old male high school student was shot in the leg during a lunchtime argument with another 15-year-old student who fled afterwards and later turned himself in to police.


Sample of Other Reported
School Crime, Violence, and Crisis Incidents in 2002-2003

October 23, 2002:  Kalamazoo, MI
A 36-year-old mother of a high school student was arrested after allegedly stabbing two female high school students with a butcher knife near the school entrance as students arrived in the morning at the high school.

November 16, 2002:  Dallas, TX
An 18-year-old male former student went to a rural high school with a shotgun and a can of gas, sloshing gasoline on the walls and floor from a backpack before five people, including the principal, were able to subdue the 300-pound suspect.

January 21, 2003:  Olive Hill, KY
A 12-year-old male middle school student was briefly taken hostage by another 12-year-old male classmate.  Both students were 6th graders.  The suspect brandished a small handgun in his 2nd floor classroom, walked into another classroom and asked for the other male to come into the hallway, at which time he held him at gunpoint.  The school resource officer responded and successfully intervened without an injury.

January 16, 2003:  Columbia, SC
A 14-year-old male, along with an 11-and 12-year-old male, attempted to carjack a school board member as she was leaving an elementary school.  The victim was not injured.

January 24, 2003:  New York, NY
A 17-year-old high school honors students was arrested after making an Internet chat room threat to carry out an attack similar to the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy.

January 27, 2003:  Crescent, OK
Three eighth-grader middle school students were arrested for allegedly carrying pipe bombs into their school.  The pipe bombs were reportedly 4 to 6 inches long; one was made of PVC pipe and the other from a film canister.  Fireworks-style fuses were used on the devices.

January 28, 2003:  East St. Louis, IL
A 14-year-old suffered two slash marks to the left side of her face during a fight with two other girls in a high school hallway.

January 29, 2003:  El Paso, TX
A protest by about 1,000 high school students over a change in class schedules turned into a rock-and-bottle throwing riot resulting in 15 people being arrested and several minor injuries.

January 30, 2003:  St. Paul, MN
A 14-year-old female middle school student was stabbed in the shoulder and two teenage males were taken into custody following a confrontation at the school.

January 30, 2003:  Jenks, OK
A 17-year-old male student armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun climbed onto the roof of the school’s gym and threatened suicide.  The student also pointed the gun at an assistant principal who was on the roof talking to him.  The male surrendered peacefully to police.

February 3, 2003:  Philadelphia, PA
Six students were slashed in the face and hands with what was believed to be a box cutter during a fight in a third floor hallway around 9:30am.  A 16-year-old female student required 58 stitches, most in her face.

February 7, 2003:  Economy, PA
A 13-year-old male was arrested for killing his mother at their home.  The male had been suspended earlier from school earlier in the week for bringing shotgun shells on a school bus.

February 10, 2003:  Grove, OK
A middle school was evacuated after a small pipe bomb was found in a boys bathroom. No one was injured.

February 13, 2003: Jonesboro, GA
A suburban Atlanta high school was evacuated after a suspicious device aroused suspicions.  The device was later found to be a kitchen timer attached to a container of blue hand cream.

February 20, 2003:  Muskogee, OK
Fourteen people were arrested after a fight broke out around 10:45am after a student assembly.  One student was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

March 11, 2003:  Gilbert, AZ
Six youths were identified by police in an alleged plot to carry out a Columbine-style “massacre” at their high school. Authorities reportedly found notes and information indicating discussion of bombs and other violent plans.

March 21, 2003:  Lawndale, CA
Two teenage high school males were arrested after classmates told a school security officer that the pair had made threats and acted unusual, and sheriff’s officers subsequently found a journal with names of students and teachers the two may have been targeting.  An unfinished pipe bomb was also found at one of the boy’s homes, along with instructions downloaded fro the Internet, according to reports.

April 23, 2003:  Houston, TX
A 16-year-old male high school student was stabbed in the chest during a fight with other students outside his high school around 12:40pm during lunch period. The victim received a 6 to 7 inch slash wound to his chest.

May 22, 2003:  Texas City, TX
A bomb was found in the home of a 16-year-old high school male freshman who allegedly planned to kill the school district’s police chief, according to prosecutors.

May 23, 2003: Seattle, WA
A male high school junior told a school resource officer deputy that he brought a Mac-10, 9mm semiautomatic assault gun, capable of holding 32 rounds and containing about two dozen bullets, to school because his home had recently been shot at and he felt he needed protection off school grounds.

June 3, 2003:  Newburgh, NY
A 34-year-old mother and her 17-year-old son allegedly went with her 12-year-old son to confront his elementary teacher, who works in an alternative school program for troubled youth, for suspending the younger boy for spitting in her face and pushing her.  The three reportedly choked and punched the teacher, then used a desk and a chair to beat her in a basement classroom, according to police.

July 6, 2003: Oaklyn, NJ
An 18-year-old male, along with two males ages 14 and 15, were arrested and a cache of weapons seized following an attempted carjacking.  Police said the suspects were believed to be plotting a massacre which included school students.  Authorities reportedly seized two rifles, a shotgun, two handguns, two swords, several knives, and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

July 17, 2003:  Charleston, WV
A 58-year-old school district maintenance worker on sick leave walked into a school board meeting, doused several people with gasoline, and began shooting at random, hitting one woman with gunfire.  The suspect was apprehended and taken into custody.