Facts On Recent School Shooters Taking Antidepressants

Prescription for Violence: Is there a Connection Between School Shooters & Psychiatric Drugs?
New Documentary Exposes Rampant Pharmaceutically–Induced School Shootings
22 September 2008

The Kauhajoki Finland school shooting, which left 11 dead and 2 wounded, could be the latest in the chain of psychiatric drug induced school shootings highlighted in a new documentary entitled Psychiatry: Prescription for Violence — created by the mental health watchdog, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). With 54 dead and 105 wounded from recent school shooters under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented to cause suicidal behavior, mania, psychosis, hallucinations, hostility and “homicidal ideation,” CCHR is calling on Finland’s law enforcement and press to fully investigate the school shooter’s psychiatric drug history. The group says this is the second major school shooting to happen in Finland in less than a year: last November, Pekka-Eric Auvinen joined the growing list of school shooters under the influence of psychiatric drugs documented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to cause suicidal behavior and homicidal thoughts. In other instances, the shooter’s medical records were never made public, so their psychiatric drug use remains in question. School shootings committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs include: 

  • DeKalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 16 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology reports showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
     
  • Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Hawkins’ friend told CNN that the gunman was on antidepressants, and autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
     
  • Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
     
  • Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazadone.
     
  • Blacksburg, Virginia – April 16, 2007: The psychiatric drug history of Seung-Hui Cho in the Virginia Tech Massacre was never made public. Initial reports stated that “depression medication” was found among Cho’s belongings. But neither his toxicology reports, nor his recent medical history were ever released to find out whether Cho had been in withdrawal from psychiatric medication. (33 were killed and 29 injured, but this was not included in the total of dead and wounded cited above.)
     
  • Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota – March 21, 2005: 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise, reportedly under the influence of the antidepressant Prozac, went on a shooting rampage at home and at his school, killing nine people and wounding five before committing suicide. 
     
  • Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression.” 
     
  • El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman was on two antidepressants, Effexor and Celexa, when he opened fire at his California high school wounding five. Hoffman had also undergone an “anger management” program.
     
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2000: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was on the antidepressant Prozac when she blasted away at fellow students in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, wounding one.
     
  • Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with a mix of antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded 6 of his classmates.
     
  • Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox when he and his partner Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 23 others before taking their own lives in the bloodiest school massacre in history. The coroner confirmed that the antidepressant was in his system through toxicology reports while Dylan Klebold’s autopsy was never made public. Harris and Klebold underwent “anger management” and “death education” classes.
     
  • Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school narrowly missing students; he was taking a mix of antidepressants.
     
  • Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his own parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been on Prozac. Kinkel also underwent “anger management” classes.

This message is a public service announcement provided by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International. For more information, contact CCHR at 800-869-2247 or email humanrights@cchr.org