Brenda Spencer – 1979

By | November 12, 2016

“I don’t like Mondays”


Brenda Spencer is led from court after pleading guilty


Brenda Ann Spencer was born on 3 April 1962. For Christmas 1978 her father, Wallace, had given her a. 22 rifle as a present. A month later, on Monday 29 January 1979, she achieved infamy when she began shooting at her school, Grover Cleveland Elementary, in San Diego from her home, located across the street. Spencer shot headmaster Burton Wragg, 53, as he was trying to protect the children. Head custodian Mike Suchar, 56, died as he tried to help Mr Wragg. In all, Spencer killed two and wounded eight children and a policeman.

Twenty minutes after the shooting began, police surrounded the Spencer home and laid siege to it for more than six hours. When Brenda gave herself up, she was asked whom she wanted to shoot and replied, “I like red and blue jackets.” When asked why, she said, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day… I had no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun… It was just like shooting ducks in a pond… [The children] looked like a herd of cows standing around; it was really easy pickings.”


Grover Cleveland Elementary School, San Diego, California, USA


Monday 29 January 1979


Spencer, 16, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. After being turned down for parole in 2005 she claimed that at the time of the shooting she had been drunk and on angel dust (PCP) and, also for the first time, that she had been sexually abused by her father. “I had to share my dad’s bed till I was 14 years old,” she alleged. Cleveland Elementary was closed in 1983 because it had too few pupils. A plaque in memory of the victims is at the site.


Spencer’s comment “I don’t like Mondays” inspired Bob Geldof to write the number one Boomtown Rats song of that name.

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