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1970s / Brampton Centennial HS School Shooting - 1975
The first school shooting in Canada in 73 years occurred on Wednesday, May 28, 1975 at Centennial High School in Brampton, Ontario. Just before noon, 16-year-old Michael Slobodian walked onto the campus with two high-powered hunting rifles and at least two ammunition belts. He killed John Slinger, a 17-year-old student, and Margaret Wright, a teacher in the English and art departments. Slobodian wounded 13 others before taking his own life with one of the firearms. “It was a beautiful spring day,” recalled Lorna (Matthews) McClusky, a Grade 10 student at the time. She walked into a hallway and heard what sounded like fire crackers. Then a girl who had been grazed by a bullet encountered her and yelled, “There’s someone shooting at people out there!” She and others quickly retreated to a nearby classroom. They remained there, hidden, until police gave the all clear to leave. She still remembers hearing wounded students moaning and calling out for help. That morning, 14-year-old Pam (Read) Hand was headed to her locker across from the first-floor boys' washroom. In one of those washroom stalls, Slobodian was loading his rifles to begin his deadly shooting spree. Hand remembers stopping in the cafeteria just long enough to greet a friend and take a bite of her donut. Meanwhile, in that washroom across from room 112, Slobodian had already fatally shot Slinger. The young victim managed to stagger into the hallway, where he collapsed and died. Nineteen-year-old Michael Gibeault was also in the washroom at the time. He was shot three times in the stomach and once in the arm at close range. He was able to stumble out before collapsing. Critically wounded, he would survive. Slobodian then opened fire on another boy as he made his way into the hallway, firing randomly at students in that section of the building. He walked around the corner to an art room, where he shot Mrs. Wright and another student. A note police found in his home indicated Slobodian planned to kill Wright, science teacher Ross Bronson, and anyone who got in his way. It is unclear what the teachers had done to trigger such hostility. The school was reopened shortly afterwards and the students were urged not to dwell on the tragedy. According to a news report on the 37th anniversary of the shooting, a movement is afoot to erect a permanent memorial to the two victims killed by Slobodian.