Monday, July 29, 2002

Rural, urban shootings different

The Associated Press

        PADUCAH - A report requested by Congress to outline causes of rural school shootings was released earlier this week. The report studied six school shootings, including the 1997 incident at Heath High School where three students were killed.

        The information included in the National Research Council study fairly depicted the Heath shooting, said McCracken Commonwealth Attorney Tim Kaltenbach after returning from a National Institute of Justice conference in Washington, D.C., where he was part of a panel on school violence.

        Michael Carneal, 14, was tried as an adult after the Dec. 1, 1997 shooting. The freshman opened fire on a prayer group gathered in the lobby of Heath High School. Three students were killed, and five were injured, two seriously.

        On the morning before the trial was to begin, the teen-ager pleaded guilty but mentally ill to three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.

        After Heath and other rural school shootings in the 1990s, Congress asked for development of detailed case studies of the circumstances that led to the violence. Two Harvard researchers came to McCracken County in May and June 2001 and interviewed more than 100 people.

        The report said the Carneals were not a dysfunctional family, but there were tensions caused by differences between the siblings.

        The study concluded that the rural school shootings in the 1990s were different from urban shootings, which usually involved having a grievance with someone at the school.



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- Rural, urban shootings different