. "3. Bad Things Happen in Good Communities: The Rampage Shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, and Its Aftermath." Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence
According to Sadoff’s report, Andrew’s mother said that her son had seemed emotionally flat, especially for the two months prior to the shooting, and that he appeared to have lost his usual enthusiasm. She also remembered that Andrew often had headaches and seemed fatigued, and that he frequently had trouble getting out of the bed in the morning. She didn’t think this was anything out of the ordinary. Andrew’s mother also reported that she had never seen her son angry. Jerome Wurst also acknowledged to Sadoff that Andrew did not get angry or show much emotion. But Andrew’s father did say that he noticed something different about his son, what he called a “dark look,” which he also described as a “faraway look or a day-dreaming look.”
Andrew may not have told his parents how angry he was with them, but he did reveal it to his former girlfriend in a letter written a few weeks before the shooting. Andrew wrote: “Are you doing ok? I got yelled at again by my dad. Let me think that’s—4 times now give or take. He started that 4th commandment on me you know ‘Honor thy father and mother.’ Gee I feel soo bad. (cry,cry) Not. Fuck them thanks to them I’m in my shit life on the edge of insanedity [sic], murder and suicide.” A classmate informed police that, in a wood shop class, Andrew had told everyone his father was an alcoholic and his mother was a prostitute.
The mother of one of Andrew’s long-time friends remembers Andrew fondly, recalling how as a younger boy he liked to play flashlight tag and eat pancakes and go on amusement park rides. She loved his wit, she told us, but she and Andrew also had serious conversations about religion and the existence of God. She found Andrew to be bright and intellectually engaging, and she attributes his poor academic performance to boredom. She also began to see changes in Andrew in eighth grade. Although her son and Andrew were no longer in the same classes, Andrew telephoned her son a lot and she would still see him occasionally. Andrew seemed unhappy, she reported. One time she overheard him speaking in a harsh, disturbing voice, making a crude and angry comment about girls, which upset her. Another time, she reported, as Andrew looked out her back window, he asked her plaintively, “Why do you think my mother married such an older man?”
A nonfamily source told us that there is a history of depression on both sides of Andrew’s family. In addition, Jerome Wurst has a sister who has been confined in the nearby Warren Psychiatric Hospital for several years.
ANDREW WURST’S PEER RELATIONSHIPS
Early press reports described Andrew as an outsider at school, someone who often seemed quiet, even withdrawn, and whose nickname was