ABOUT THE SHOOTING
On a Tuesday afternoon, on March 6, 2012, Dale Regan, headmaster of Episcopal School of Jacksonville, was shot and killed by Spanish teacher Shane Schumerth. Earlier that morning, Regan fired Schumerth, only a year and a half after he’d been hired. Later that day, at around 1:15 p.m., he returned to the school with an AK-47 assault rifle inside a guitar case, entered Regan’s office, and shot her multiple times before shooting himself.
A local Jacksonville news station reported on Schumerth’s school performance as one possible explanation to the shooting, noting that “on his last Duval County Public Schools evaluation in 2009, his overall evaluation was satisfactory, but he was given several ‘needs improvement’ notations, including for classroom management techniques. It said, ‘Teacher lacks student motivation skills’ and ‘curriculum delivery lacks enthusiasm.’”
But while news reports indicated Schumerth suffered from depression and noted that students characterized him as “awkward,” the cause of the murder-suicide was not evident. A New York Times article published on March 8, 2012 corroborated that “no one has been able to explain the violent actions of the shy 28-year-old teacher who grew up in small-town Indiana, attended a prep school where his father taught and was part of a large, loving, intellectually curious and socially conscious family.”
The Times article also reports that “Although the authorities have not discussed publicly how Mr. Schumerth obtained the weapon, The Florida-Times Union reported on Thursday that he bought an assault rifle at a local gun show early last month and carried 100 rounds of ammunition to the school.” And while states are required by federal law to enter the names of those recognized as mentally ill by the courts into an FBI database for purchase tracking, since Schumerth bought the gun at a show, federal law doesn’t require vendors to run background checks.
After the shooting, the school remained closed until March 19, which was their spring break. Vigils were held for headmaster Regan, and about “400 people attended the downtown ceremony at St. John’s reciting some of Regan’s favorite prayers.”