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Yemeni gunman sentenced to death in school rampage

March 31, 1997
Web posted at: 1:16 p.m. EST (1816 GMT)

SAN'A, Yemen (CNN) -- A day after a man raked two schools with gunfire, a Yemeni court has convicted him and sentenced him to death by firing squad.

A headmistress, a teacher, a cafeteria worker, a bystander and a student were killed in Sunday's shooting spree, according to Yemen's official SABA news agency. Twelve people were wounded, five critically.

The defendant, Mohammad Ahmad Misleh, had been charged with five murders, 12 counts of attempted murder, and resisting arrest. He asked immediately to appeal the verdict, and prosecutors said the appeal would be heard in public on Tuesday.

Witnesses said Misleh appeared to target the headmistress of one of the schools when he arrived, armed with an assault rifle, as students were lining up for morning classes. He killed the headmistress outright, then another employee who attempted to cover the woman's body.

Next, the witnesses said, Misleh shot another person who tried to stop the gunman from getting into the school. Inside, they said, he fired his weapon wildly, hitting children and teachers indiscriminately.

After leaving the first school, he ran to another a few hundred yards away, firing away at teachers and children who ran screaming into the streets to escape the hail of bullets.

Security forces rushed to the middle class neighborhood just south of the Yemeni capital, wounding and arresting the man after a brief shootout.

In court Monday, Misleh said he carried out the attack to avenge the alleged kidnapping and rape of one of his daughters, which he said was approved by school officials. A medical examiner's report, however, disputed his rape claim.

Witnesses said Misleh was a former bus driver who had been fired by the headmistress.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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