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Teen kills 2 at school; mother found dead at home

Woodham October 1, 1997
Web posted at: 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT)

PEARL, Mississippi (CNN) -- A Mississippi teen-ager slashed his mother's throat Wednesday morning before going on a shooting rampage at his high school that left two students dead and at least six wounded, authorities said.

The high school junior, Luke Woodham, was arrested and charged with three counts of murder shortly after the shooting at Pearl High School, about three miles east of the state capital, Jackson.

Police Chief Bill Slade choked back tears as he told reporters, "This was a disgruntled girlfriend-boyfriend thing... We talked to the youth. He gave us a statement and his manifesto was that he felt he had been wronged."



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Message Board: Violence in U.S. Schools


Pearl Mayor Jimmy Foster describes what happened
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Pearl Police Chief Bill Slade explains what measures will be taken to help traumatized students
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One student's mother is shocked
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A former girlfriend of the suspect was one of two students killed at the school.

Slade also said police suspect that the student had killed his mother, Mary T. Woodham, 50, at home earlier Wednesday by slashing her throat.

The shooting happened about 8:10 a.m. as buses were arriving at the school. David Williams, a sophomore, said the gunman walked into the commons area inside the front of the school, pulled a rifle from his jacket and opened fire.

"He was shooting anybody he could find. He shot at me and hit the staircase," said Mark Wilkerson, a freshman. "I saw fragments going everywhere."

Medic offering help

One student described the accused youth as reserved. "He was a very quiet person," said Alan Burrow.

Four wounded students, ranging in age from 14 to 18, were taken to Rankin Medical Center in Brandon, Mississippi, where one student had already been treated and released. Grieving students gathered in hospital waiting rooms.

"The injuries are non-critical gunshot wounds," hospital spokesman Mark Lee said. "In layman's terms they are flesh wounds."

Officials shut down the school almost immediately after the shooting and sent all students home.

Rhonda Marks, a spokeswoman at River Oaks Hospital, said two students had been brought into the hospital for treatment. Marks did not know if the hospital would receive any more wounded.


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