Parker Middle School dance shooting

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Coordinates: 41°54′03″N 80°07′41″W / 41.9007°N 80.1280°W / 41.9007; -80.1280

Parker Middle School dance shooting
Location Edinboro, Pennsylvania, United States
Date April 24, 1998
Attack type
School shooting, murder
Weapons .25 caliber pistol
Deaths 1
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrator Andrew Jerome Wurst

The Parker Middle School dance shooting was an incident that occurred on April 24, 1998 at a banquet facility in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, United States. Andrew Jerome Wurst, 14, fatally shot 48-year-old John Gillette, and wounded another teacher and two students[1] at Nick's Place (a nearby banquet hall)[2] during an 8th grade dinner dance.[3]

Prior to the shooting, Andrew Wurst was described as an average student, and somewhat of a loner. One student noticed that he had become curt and unfriendly prior to the shooting, and had told others that he wanted to "kill people and commit suicide". He was later sentenced to 60 years in prison.[4] He had no history of mental illness prior to the shooting.


Wurst showed up late to the dance, with his father's .25-caliber pistol in a holster belt under his jacket. He had previously left a suicide note under his pillow, and stated to investigators that he planned to go to the dance and kill only himself.[5]

The shooting began on an outdoor patio, about 20 minutes before the dance was scheduled to end, around 9:40. He shot John Gillette after he asked Wurst to come inside. Before running out of ammunition, Wurst proceeded to enter Nick's Place, where the dance had been held, and subsequently fired and wounded Edrye Boraten, a teacher and two students, Jacob Tury and Robert Zemcheck.[1] The shooting ended when the owner of Nick's Place, James Strand, intervened and confronted Wurst with his shotgun, ordering him to drop his weapon and later holding him at bay for eleven minutes. Strand later got Wurst on the ground and searched him for weapons, finding a dinner fork in his sock.[6]


Wurst's attorneys had considered an insanity defense, but recommended that he plead guilty because it would be hard to convince the jury of an insanity defense.

Wurst was charged with attempted murder, third-degree murder, and first-degree murder, and pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to a lesser charge of third-degree murder along with attempted murder to avoid going to trial, and in an attempt to avoid life imprisonment. He is serving a 30 to 60-year sentence in a prison for young offenders.[4] He will be eligible for parole in 2029.


  1. ^ a b Moore et al. 2003, p. 80
  2. ^ Moore et al. 2003, p. 70
  3. ^ "Violence Goes to School - Chronology". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Hays, Kristen (September 10, 1999). "Edinboro teen killer sentenced". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ Moore et al. 2003, p. 76
  6. ^ Moore et al. 2003, pp. 72–73