Sept. 11, 2000 | MIAMI (AP) — The 13-year-old charged in the
fatal shooting of his English teacher said he “wasn’t thinking
clearly” when he returned to school with a gun after being
suspended for throwing water balloons. Nathaniel Brazill told The Miami Herald in an interview
published Monday that he pointed a gun at the teacher in
the head May 26 after he was denied permission to talk to a
girl in the classroom. Brazill said he didn’t mean for the gun
to go off. Brazill, an honor student who had
ambitions of becoming a Secret Service
agent, said he was upset over his 10-day
suspension, which would have taken effect
the next school year.
“I thought I’d never catch up at the
beginning of the next year,” Brazill said.
“All of my friends would leave me behind. I
thought my future was ruined.”
Brazill is charged with first-degree murder
in the death of Barry Grunow, 35, who he
said was his favorite teacher. He faces life
in prison if convicted.
According to police, Brazill went home, retrieved a
.25-caliber semiautomatic pistol he had stolen from his
grandfather’s house and returned to Lake Worth Community
Middle School, where he shot Grunow in the head.
“I wasn’t thinking clearly when I took the gun to school on
that day. I was too upset,” Brazill told the Herald. “I had the
gun hidden in my dresser because I was going to ask my
uncle in the Army to teach me how to use it for my future
career in the military or law enforcement. I don’t know how or
why it happened the way it did. Mr. Grunow was the best.”
Brazill said he went to Grunow’s classroom to talk to a girl
and “tell her to have a good summer.”
Grunow told Brazill he couldn’t talk to the girl, so the boy
pulled the loaded gun out of his pocket and pointed it at the
teacher. Brazill has said in a police confession that he didn’t
mean for the gun to go off.
“I smiled at Mr. Grunow and he smiled at me,” Brazill told the
Herald. “He pushed the gun away like he thought it was
fake. It was kind of like a joke — the kind of joke we always
had between us. Then the gun went off. I don’t know how it