Lindhurst High School shooting

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Lindhurst High School shooting
LocationOlivehurst, California, United States
DateMay 1, 1992
2:40 p.m.–c. 11:30 p.m. (PST)
TargetStudents and staff of Lindhurst High School
Attack type
School shooting, mass murder, hostage taking, siege
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorEric Houston

The Lindhurst High School shooting was a school shooting and subsequent siege that occurred on May 1, 1992, at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, United States. The gunman, 20-year-old[1] Eric Houston, was a former student at Lindhurst High School. Houston killed three students and one teacher, and wounded nine students and a teacher before surrendering to police.[2][3][4]


Lindhurst High School, where the shooting took place, has a multiethnic student body, most from poor and working-class backgrounds.[5]

Shooting and siege[edit]

Eric Houston arrived on campus armed with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle[6] around 2:40 p.m. on May 1. As he entered the school, he fatally shot teacher Robert Brens, his civics teacher during his senior year. He then shot and killed Judy Davis, a 17-year-old student inside Brens' classroom. Houston then walked through the hallway outside the classroom and fatally shot student Jason Edward White in the chest. Further on, Houston pointed his shotgun at another student, Angela Welch, but before he could fire his weapon, another student, 16-year-old Beamon Aton Hill, pushed her to safety, taking a fatal shotgun blast to the side of his head. Ten others were injured from the gunfire.

Houston then entered a classroom with about 25 to 30 students inside. According to reports, Houston would send student Andrew Parks to retrieve more hostages, threatening that if he did not come back he would kill another student, and eventually held over 80 students hostage. He engaged in an eight-hour standoff with police before surrendering to authorities.


While in police custody, Houston stated that he was despondent over losing his job and was angered that he failed to graduate from high school or obtain a GED.[7] He claimed to be "out of touch with reality" when he committed the murders.[8] He also confessed to holding a grudge against his former Civics teacher Robert Brens, who failed Houston in his class. On September 21, 1993 Houston was found guilty on all charges against him, and was sentenced to death.[9] In 2012, the California Supreme Court upheld his death penalty.[10] He is currently awaiting execution at San Quentin State Prison.[11] Eric Houston also stated that he had not warned the school that he was coming on campus as some alleged. His statements were introduced as evidence in both the civil and criminal trials. As of September 2016, Houston is still on death row.[12]

A memorial park was erected on McGowan Parkway in Olivehurst, California in remembrance of the four people who died that day.[13]


Detention: The Siege at Johnson High (a.k.a. Hostage High and Target for Rage) is a 1997 drama thriller film based on the Lindhurst High School shooting. The film stars Rick Schroder, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Katie Wright, Ryan Christopher Mouritsen, Alexis Cruz, and Henry Winkler. The script was written by Larry Golin and directed by Michael W. Watkins. The film was released on 19 May 1997. The television series Hostage Do or Die also produced an episode recreating the events of the shooting and standoff. The episode aired on 29 December 2011.


  1. ^ Eugene D. Wheeler, S. Anthony Baron. Violence in our schools, hospitals and public places: a prevention and management guide. 1993. p.22
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of School Crime and Violence. By Laura Finley. Page 234.
  3. ^ The Shootings and Siege at Lindhurst High School - as told by the Survivors. Angels of Columbine
  4. ^ American Decades: 1990-1999, Volume 10. p. 153
  5. ^ Contention: debates in society, culture, and science, Volume 2, Issues 1-3. p.52
  6. ^ Louis R. Mizell. How to Stay Safe in High School and College. Berkley Pub Group, 1996. p. 143
  7. ^ Babyface killers. Clifford L. Linedecker. St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1999. p. 276
  8. ^ The psychology and law of workplace violence: a handbook for mental health professionals and employers. Irvin H. Perline, Jona Goldschmidt. Charles C Thomas Publisher, 2004. p. 315
  9. ^ Shooting game. Joseph Alan Lieberman. Seven Locks Press, 2006. p. 83
  10. ^ "State Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty For Houston In Lindhurst High Rampage". CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. August 2, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Kymm Mann. School shooting turns unwanted attention to Lindhurst. Appeal Democrat. April 16, 2007.
  12. ^ California Inmate Locator. Accessed May 15, 2018
  13. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°05′04″N 121°32′09″W / 39.08444°N 121.53583°W / 39.08444; -121.53583