Barry Loukaitis (February 26th, 1981 - ) is the perpetrator of the 1996 Frontier Middle School shooting. At the time of the incident Loukaitis was 15 years old, he reportedly suffered from clinical depression and delusions in the years leading up to the incident at his school where he would kill 3 people.
Loukaitis lived with his mother and father until 1995 when they separated, his family was dysfunctional and his mother often thought of suicide.
Barry's mother frequently said that Loukaitis and her would commit suicide on Valentine's Day, however he talked her out of doing so.
Loukaitis suffered from hyperactivity, and took Ritalin, a common medication in the 1990s. In the years leading up to the incident his mother, Jo Ann Philips became increasingly distant and depressed; this is thought to have contributed to Barry's suicidal and homicidal urges.
During his trial, a state mental health expert said that Barry had been experiencing delusional and messianic thoughts in the months leading up to the shooting.
Loukaitis began to suffer from clinical depression and started having suicidal feelings in the month's leading up to the incident. Barry was also a fan of the controversial film Natural Born Killers.
Frontier Middle School shooting
On February 2nd, 1996 (the same Month as Loukaitis's parents officially were divorced) Barry would walk from his home to Frontier Middle School (where he was a student) in Moses Lake, Washington dressed as a Western style gunslinger.
Armed with a 357 Magnum revolver, a .30-30 rifle, and a .25 ACP Pistol he would walk into his 5th period Algebra class and opened fire killing two students, Arnold Fritz and Manuel Vela, Jr., both fourteen. Another student, 13-year-old Natalie Hintz, sustained critical gunshot wounds to the right arm and abdomen, she would later be airlifted to hospital.
Loukaitis would then fatally shoot his teacher Leona Caires in the chest stating "This sure beats the hell out of Algebra!" Two staff members would enter the classroom to find Loukaitis holding his classmates hostage, he started asking for a hostage so he could safely exit the school. Jon Lane, a sports coach at the school, volunteered as a hostage. Lane would grab Loukaitis' rifle and wrestle him to the ground with the assistance of other students.
Jon Lane would keep Loukaitis subdued until the police arrived.
Trial and aftermath
Loukaitis' trial would occur in June 1996, where he was tried as a minor. The Court appointed a psychiatrist by the name of Joan Petrich to evaluate Loukaitis' mental health.
Petrich said Loukaitis suffered from delusions saying that he stated, "He felt like he was God and would laugh to himself. He felt he was superior to other people, and then those feelings were later replaced by hate, disdain, and not measuring up."
Loukaitis plead insanity to all charges, and said that he had only intended on killing Manuel Vela and that the other deaths were accidental.
The prosecution stated that Loukaitis got inspiration from the novel Rage, Natural Born Killers, and the Pearl Jam song Jeremy where a student commits suicide in front of his class.
In the novel Rage, the protagonist walks into his Algebra class killing scores of students before killing himself. Through the use of all these pieces of media he had carefully planned the incident.
In 1997, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder as well as 16 counts of aggravated kidnapping and hostage taking. He was sentenced 2 life sentences and an additional 205 years without parole.
Loukaitis could be re-sentenced due to a US Supreme Court decision, in which people convicted of a murder they committed under 16 years of age can be paroled in 25 years. Loukaitis could be released as early as 2021.
Loukaitis is currently imprisoned at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington State.