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Ridiculed Youth Goes Berserk, Kills Classmate, Self At School

March 3, 1987

DeKALB, Mo. (AP) _ Counselors were called in to help students cope today with the memories of a 12-year-old boy, often taunted as ″Chubby,″ pulling a gun from a bag, fatally wounding a classmate and killing himself.

″It’s totally devastating, totally shocking,″ said DeKalb High School Principal Mark Harpst.

Classes had just begun Monday at the rural school when Nathan D. Faris pulled a pistol from a duffel bag and shot Timothy Perrin, 13, of Rushville, in the head. As students ran from the social studies classroom, Nathan shot himself once in the head, Highway Patrol Trooper Bob Anderson said.

Seventh-graders described Nathan, who lived in Rushville, as the object of relentess teasing. Some classmates called him fat and a ″walking dictionary.″ He earned four A’s, two B’s and a C on his recent report card, Harpst said.

″Nobody really had anything against him. He was just someone to pick on,″ said Jessica Lux, 12, who sat one desk away from where the shooting occurred.

Benji Chapman, 12, said: ″It’s been happening ever since the third or fourth grade. People teased him because he wore sunglasses - they called him Sunny - and because he’s fat.″

″Everybody always teased him. He was overweight and they called him ’Chubby,‴ said Billy Couch, a seventh grader in a nearby classroom.

Nathan warned students Friday that he would be carrying a gun Monday to put an end to the ridicule, Jessica and Benji said.

″He said they wouldn’t be picking on him any more,″ Jessica said. ″He said he was going to bring a gun to school, and no one believed him.″

When Nathan pulled the gun, students began to taunt him, doubting that it was real, she said. He pointed the gun in the face of one student who on Friday took Nathan’s seat, leading to a scuffle between the boys, she said.

Jessica said the boy still didn’t believe the gun was real and tried to take it out of Nathan’s hand but failed.

Then, Jessica said, ″Tim immediately jumped up and he grabbed Nathan’s wrists and he was trying to get Nathan to let go. Apparently Tim thought it was a fake gun because when he let go, he went back to his seat sort of laughing.″

Nathan then fired a shot at Tim but missed.

Students gasped as the gunshot echoed in the classroom, and some immediately ran from the room as Nathan fired more shots. Tim was hit by one of the shots and staggered out of the room and into a classroom next door.

Benji was sitting in the next room when he saw Tim stumble to the back of the room.

Tim fell on a desk and then he moved back to the front of the class, where he said, ″I got shot,″ Benji said. Crunched over, holding his chest, Tim fell against a wall, leaving a streak of blood, Benji said.

School officials made an announcement on the intercom instructing all teachers to lock their classroom doors.

Harpst said later, ″If you ever want a scary feeling, try looking through the school for a student with a gun.″

Classes were dismissed after the shooting. By Monday afternoon, custodians had cleaned the classroom where the shootings occurred and patched two bullet holes in the back wall. Five shell casings were found in the room.

Authorities have not determined who owned the gun.

Relatives said Nathan, who liked to fish and tinker with radios, was the only surviving child of William and Sharon Faris. Their other son died of leukemia as an infant, relatives said.

DeKalb is a town of about 250 people about 25 miles northwest of Kansas City. About 200 students from the surrounding area attend seventh- through 12th-grade classes in the red brick school.

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