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Classroom Shootings Leave One Boy Dead

May 7, 1987

Undated (AP) _ Two 15-year-old boys shot themselves, one fatally, in front of classmates in schools in Florida and Arkansas, authorities said.

Karl Tramer died early today at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital, hours after shooting himself in the head Wednesday at the close of an advanced literature class.

Bobby Emmons, a ninth-grader at MacArthur Junior High School in Jonesboro, Ark., was listed in stable condition at St. Bernard’s Regional Medical Center in Jonesboro.

Students told police that Emmons pointed the pistol at a classmate with whom he had had a disagreement, said, ″This should be for you,″ then turned the gun on himself Wednesday morning. He was wounded in the abdomen.

Tramer, a Leto High School sophomore, shot himself without saying a word, witnesses told Tampa officials.

Orlan Briant, general area director for the Hillsborough County school system, said he was told Tramer was despondent about the drowning of a friend last week.

The boy was described as an Eagle Scout and a good student, though his performance had slipped enough recently to warrant a routine academic warning that he was in danger of failing a class.

Teacher Deborah McFarland said she noticed nothing out of the ordinary before the shooting.

″It just tears me up that that would happen to such a kid as this. ...,″ she said. ″The kids seemed to like him an awful lot; I like him an awful lot.″

In Jonesboro, science teacher David Hawkins said he was checking roll before the first-period class began, and saw Emmons with the pistol in his hand. He said he didn’t realize it wasn’t a joke until the gun went off.

Superintendent Bill Beasley said he knew of no instances in which the boy had caused problems. ″As far as I know, he’s just what you would consider a regular student,″ he said.

The school set up counseling sessions for students after the shooting and allowed some to go home early. ″We were fortunate in that we already had a detailed plan of action, and we followed that this morning,″ Beasley said.

Similar sessions were also set up for the students in Florida.

″They’re talking, counseling, trying to console and bring them back down,″ said Paul Gore, Leto assistant principal. ″The whole school went through a traumatic experience.″

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