The Pearl High School shooting was a school shooting that occurred on October 1, 1997 at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, United States. The gunman, 16-year-old Luke Woodham (born February 5, 1981), killed two students and injured seven others at his high school. Before the shooting at Pearl High School began, Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death in his home.
The incident began on the morning of October 1, 1997 when Luke Woodham fatally stabbed and bludgeoned his sleeping mother, Mary Woodham. At his trial, Woodham claimed that he could not remember killing his mother.
Woodham drove his mother’s car to Pearl High School. Wearing an orange jumpsuit and a trenchcoat, he made no attempt to hide his rifle. When he entered the school, he fatally shot Lydia Kaye Dew and Christina Menefee, his former girlfriend. Pearl High School assistant band director, Jeff Cannon, was standing five feet away from Dew when she was fatally shot. He went on to wound seven others before leaving, intending to drive off campus and conduct another shooting at the nearby Pearl Junior High School. However, assistant principal Joel Myrick had retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham inside his mother’s car. Then Myrick demanded “Why did you shoot my kids?” to which Woodham replied, “Life has wronged me, sir”.
Minutes before he started the shooting, he gave the following message to a friend:
“I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. … All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. … It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can’t pry your eyes open, if I can’t do it through pacifism, if I can’t show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet.”