Local News

Five Dead in Ark. School Ambush

Posted March 23, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Four students and a teacher died today after two children sent bullets showering down outside of a school.

The shooting happened at Westside Middle school in Jonesboro, Arkansas just west of Memphis, Tennessee.

As students filed out of the middle school during a false fire alarm, the shooting began, and at least five ended up dead and about a dozen wounded.

Bradley Clark, a Westside student, said, "We heard the shots, and we thought it was the construction workers, and then we saw all the people falling."

The suspects dressed in camouflage open fired on the exiting crowd of sixth and seventh graders, while a third student apparently pulled the fire alarm, setting up the ambush.

Parent Anita Clark said, "Its unreal, you never think about this happening at your school, but it does."

As news spread of the shootings, concerned parents and friends rushed to the school about 130 miles Northeast of Little Rock.

Police said that they found the suspects, ages 11 and 13, simply waiting in the nearby woods. The two were armed with handguns and rifles.

Arkansas Officials appeared stunned by the attack. Governor Mike Huckabee said, "First of all on behalf of all the people of our state, we express not only our shock and dismay that something like this would happen in our home state, and our sincere disappointment that it did."

This incident marks the third shooting rampage in five months at a school.

Currently, there is not an Arkansas law that prohibits minors from possessing shotguns or rifles.

In a survey of students from 1992-1994, only two percent of the middle and high school students admitted carrying a gun to school at least once in the past month. 13 percent said another classmate had seriously threatened to shoot them. Reporter: Dave Fehling