California State University, Fullerton massacre

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California State University, Fullerton massacre
Location Fullerton, California, United States
Date July 12, 1976
Target California State University, Fullerton
Attack type
School shooting
Weapon(s) .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle
Deaths 7
Non-fatal injuries
2
Perpetrator Edward Charles Allaway

The California State University, Fullerton massacre was an incident of mass murder committed by a custodian, Edward Charles Allaway, on July 12, 1976, at California State University, Fullerton, in Fullerton, California, United States. It was the worst mass murder in Orange County until the 2011 Seal Beach shooting, in which eight people died.[1][2]

Allaway had a history of violence and mental illness. He was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and found insane by a judge after being convicted by a jury. He is imprisoned at Patton State Hospital under medical treatment.

Events[edit]

The gunman, 37-year-old Edward Charles Allaway, was a custodian at the university's library. Armed with a semi-automatic rifle he purchased at a Buena Park Kmart, Allaway killed seven people and wounded two others in the library's first-floor lobby and at the building's Instructional Media Center (IMC), located in the basement. He fled the school campus, went to a nearby hotel in Anaheim, where his former wife worked, and telephoned police to report his actions. He told them, “I went berserk at Cal State Fullerton, and I committed some terrible act . I’d appreciate it if you people would come down and pick me up . I’m unarmed, and I’m giving myself up to you.”[3]

Allaway was later found guilty of six counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder.[4] A second phase of the trial determined that he was not sane. Five different mental health professionals diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia.

He presented a history of mental illness, as he had tried to commit suicide and had been hospitalized and treated with electric shock in the past.[3] He was committed to the California state mental hospital system, beginning at Atascadero State Prison. Today he is held at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino.

He was found to have injured a co-worker at a Michigan plant. A short time before the shooting rampage, he had threatened his wife with a knife and raped her.[2]

Allaway's apparent motive was that he had delusions that pornographers were forcing his wife to appear in movies. The couple had separated over Memorial Day Weekend 1976 after a blow-up. His wife had filed for divorce shortly before Allaway attacked co-workers at the university.[3]

The defense alleged that library staff members screened commercial pornographic movies before library opening hours and in break rooms, but Allaway's wife was not in them.

Trial[edit]

After a 1977 jury convicted Allaway of murder but deadlocked in the sanity phase of the trial, a judge found Allaway not guilty by reason of insanity. By law, defendants found insane are committed to a mental institution until they are found sane. As of 2010, Allaway remained institutionalized at Patton State Hospital after several failed petitions to the courts asking for his release.

In the summer of 2009, officials at Patton indicated that Allaway was asymptomatic, had not needed medication, and they would recommend his release. The district attorney contacted the governor and the state mental health director to protest the hospital's planned action, given his history of violence and the mass murder. Patton withdrew the recommendation for release a few months later.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paige Austin, "Eight Dead in Shooting at Salon, Worst Massacre in O.C. History", Laguna Beach Patch, 9 October 2011, accessed 20 February 2013
  2. ^ a b c Hardesty, Greg (July 15, 2010). "Release blocked for county's worst mass killer". Orange County Register. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Nicole Smith, "The Quiet Custodian", first published in The Tusk, 15 May 2006, Hearst Journalism Awards Program, 2007
  4. ^ "Slayer Goes to Mental Hospital". The Los Angeles Times, reprinted in Tuscaloosa News. November 18, 1977. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°52′53″N 117°53′6″W / 33.88139°N 117.88500°W / 33.88139; -117.88500