Minnesota · Newspaper clippings · School Violence

Teen shoots student, educator after years of teasing

October 5, 1966
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
15-year-old David Black shoots a fellow student and an educator at his high school

Black had been teased for sometime. According to 14-year-old survivor Kevin Roth, Black was short for his age, heavy-set, and “could have shaved twice a day.” He was also prone to telling exaggerated stories, including having a pilot license, going to a “mafia convention,” and having an alcohol still in the woods. The day before the shooting, Black brought bullets to school and showed them to those who had teased him, saying he was going to use them, though he wasn’t believed.

On the morning of October 5, Black arrived at the school and approached a group of students smoking outside. He drew a .22-caliber pistol which sent all but one of the students scattering. The remaining student, Roth, froze. He was shot in the chest. Roth’s injuries were predominantly internal and he was not immediately believed by teachers to have been shot. When Forrest Willey, the director of secondary education, arrived on the scene a short time later to investigate, Black shot him in the abdomen. Black then fled, though he was quickly located and encouraged by police to surrender.

During questioning, Black stated he had wished he had killed more people, wanting to be considered among the ranks of recent mass murders the the months leading up to his schooling, including the July 14, 1966 murders of eight nurses by Richard Speck and the August 1, 1966 University of Texas sniper attack carried out by Charles Whitman.

Willey died eight days after the shooting, due to respiratory and kidney complications; Roth survived his attack.

Black pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and aggravated assault, and was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison. According to Mass Shootings in America: Understanding the Debates, Causes, and Responses by Jaclyn Schildkraut, Black was released in 1976 but was arrested just four months later on a charge of criminal sexual conduct. He was released on this charge in 1980. I could find no additional information on his life afterward.

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