Westside shooter dead in car crash

Circa 2000 photo of Andrew Golden aka Drew Grant. Source: Youtube

JONESBORO, Ark. – One of the two men who were guilty of the mass shooting at Westside Middle School in 1998 was killed in a traffic accident this weekend.

It happened on highway at 9 PM Saturday on Highway 167 South of Cave City.

The crash report listed 33 year old “Drew Grant”, the name Golden took to avoid public attention, as being one of two deceased drivers in the accident. The head-on accident also claimed the life of Daniel Petty, 59, of Essex, Missouri.

The ASP Fatal Crash Summary states Grant was a resident of Jackson, Missouri.

According to the report, a 2013 Chevy Tahoe driven by Petty was driving southbound on Highway 167. At the same time, Grant’s 2017 Honda CRV was going north on the same highway. The Tahoe drove left of the center line, crossing a turn lane and both northbound lanes, the state trooper reported. It struck Grant head-on, killing him.

Stephanie Grant, 29, of Jackson, MO, was a passenger in Honda along with a female juvenile. Both were injured. A 59-year-old Newport woman, Kathy Tanner, was a passenger in the Tahoe and was injured.

Traffic was backed up for sometime in the area both due to people leaving the Cave City Watermelon Festival and this accident.

The preliminary fatal summary at the Arkansas State Police identifies a Drew Grant as one of the dead in the crash.  State troopers assigned to investigate the crash confirm that Grant and Andrew Golden are one and the same. – Bill Sadler, Arkansas State Police, to NEA Report

Grant, as Andrew Golden, was 11 when he, along with 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson, killed five and injured ten on March 24, 1998 at Westside Middle School. In depositions, Golden claimed in Dec. 2008 Johnson threatened him and forced him to go along with it. Johnson disputed this in his 2007 deposition and said Golden went along with it willingly.

Image result for andrew golden

When at the school, Golden was the one who pulled the fire alarm that sent unsuspecting students and teachers at Westside out to the playground. Golden claimed he did this under threat of being killed by Johnson.

Golden was armed with a World War II era M1 Carbine during the shooting and said in depositions he was the first to fire. Even at age 11, he had competed in shooting competitions and was described as a skilled marksman in some reporting. He claimed he was firing to scare people back inside but ballistics matched the bullet that killed Natalie Brooks to his rifle. The shot struck her in the head.

PHOTO: In a family photo, Andrew Golden holds a handgun as he sits in the living room with his father. Andrew is one of two boys accused in the shooting deaths of four girls and one teacher at the Westside Middle School, March 24, 1998.
Golden, left, poses with his gun in a family photo.

Unlike most mass shooters, Golden and Johnson did not die at the scene. They survived, were arrested, and stood trial. At the time, Arkansas state law mandated that the two be released on their 21st birthdays, with their records sealed.

The two were the only two living U.S. mass school shooters who were not incarcerated, as ABC reported in 2016.

As of July 27, 2019, only Johnson carries that dubious distinction.

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