Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Massacre at Cal State Fullerton
During my years as a student at Cal State Fullerton, I remember hearing occasional rumors that there was a massacre that happened in the library, but I never bothered to look into the details. The rumors were true. On July 12, 1976, a 37-year-old custodian named Edward C. Allaway went on a shooting rampage in the library with a semi-automatic rifle, killing seven people and wounding two (Ziebell 158).
Why did he do it? Acccording to the North County Times, “Allaway told authorities he killed his co-workers because they teased him about his belief that pornographic movies [allegedly including his wife] were being made on campus. At his trial, he testified that homosexual men were using the school's library for sexual liaisons and were plotting to kill him” (April 17, 2007).
During the trial, his wife Bonnie “attested to his prejudicial behavior against blacks and Mexican-Americans” (Daily Titan, 2006). Allaway told the OC Register, three years after being in a mental institution, “The money was good, the work wasn’t that hard, but there was just no way a white person could work there.”
Over the course of the trial, it became clear that Allaway had paranoid schizophrenia, and he was sentenced to life in a mental hospital, not a state prison.
According to former LA Times reporter Evan Maxwell, who interviewed Allaway’s parents in 1976: “This was a crime, but it was a crime involving a sad and flawed human being. People couldn’t believe what was happening. That’s what made people uneasy” (Daily Titan, 2006).
The seven victims of the massacre are memorialized by seven pine trees planted next to the current kinesiology building on campus. I hung out by those pine trees a lot as a student—it’s a peaceful little grove. I never knew their significance.