August 20, 1982
Carl Robert Brown begins a shooting spree following an argument over $20
Brown, who was “described as a temperamental bigot who sometimes praised the Soviet Union but other mornings startled neighbors by shouting, ‘United States! UnitedStates!’” according Florida Today (Aug 22, 1982), had been involved in a dispute the day before the shooting. Brown had visited a repair shop concerning a $20 bill for repairing a lawn mower motor; he believed was charged too much. As he left the shop, he made “threatening remarks,” though no one took the threats seriously.
The St. Petersburg Times (Aug 22, 1982) reported that, an hour before the shootings, Brown handed his 10-year-old son a shotgun and said “let’s go kill some people,” though the son did not accept the offer. Brown then rode his bicycle to the repair shop and opened fire on those inside. Eight people were killed or fatally injured while another three were wounded. Brown then got back on his bicycle and casually rode towards Hialeah Junior High School, the school he had worked for part time before he was given a leave of absence due to psychiatric issues.
Mark Kram, who worked nearby, grabbed a .38 revolver and got in his car to chase Brown down. Along the way he picked up his friend, Ernest Hammett. The two quickly caught up with Brown, and Kram fired a warning shot at Brown. As Brown turned in his bicycle seat to aim the shotgun at the men, Kram said his “instincts were to push him, hit him with the car.” Kram struck Brown, smashing him and the bike against a concrete light pole. Brown died shortly after.
During the investigation, it was found that Brown died as a result of being shot rather than the impact of being run over. The “warning shot” Kram fired had struck Brown in the back, mortally wounding him. Janet Reno, Dade State Attorney at the time, stated Kram used justifiable force when dealing with Brown, and no charges were filed against him.
Brown’s body and his bicycle next to the light pole. Tampa Bay Times (Aug 21, 1982)
Friends of victims grieve near the shop where eight were killed. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (Aug 22, 1982)
From the St. Petersburg Times (Aug 22, 1982)
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Today in Horror History: August 20