Carl Robert Brown
(November 26, 1930 - August 20, 1982) was an American teacher and mass
murderer who killed eight people and injured another three with a
shotgun in a Miami welding shop on August 20, 1982. He was later fatally
shot and run down by two witnesses, when cycling away from the crime
Brown was born on November 26, 1930. He had joined the Navy and was
honorably discharged in 1954. People later stated that Brown always kept
a military bearing about himself and was quite militaristic. In 1955 he
moved from Chicago to Florida, where he graduated from the University of
Miami in 1957 and in 1964 from East Carolina College in Greenville,
North Carolina, earning a master's degree in education. After working
briefly for Keyes Realty he got a fulltime job at Hialeah Junior High
School in 1962 and moonlighted at Miami-Dade Community College as an
accounting instructor from 1964 to 1970.
was married twice and had three children. His first wife died and his
second marriage failed, according to his second wife, Sylvia, because he
refused to seek psychological help. As a consequence his condition began
to deteriorate, resulting in an increasingly disheveled and gaunt
appearence, and he began isolating himself more and more. A neighbor
later described him looking "as if he were 80 years old". Reportedly one
of his daughters once tried to have him hospitalized, though as his
admission had to be voluntary her request was declined. Additionally his
career began to suffer. Due to problems at Hialeah Junior High, Brown,
who was well known as prejudiced bigot and blatant racist who hated
everyone, was transferred to Drew Middle School, a school with a black
majority, in 1981. There he taught American history until March 3, 1982
when he was relieved of his teaching duties for medical leave to treat
his psychiatric problems.
Though neighbors described
Brown as quiet, kind and helpful man, who was working hard to keep his
duplex neat and clean, and praising him overall as a landlord, it was
also said that he made a habit of walking into other peoples yards early
in the morning, waking them by yelling "United States!" and that during
the night shots were heard from his house. It was also reported that he
once broke a window, when firing a pellet gun and picked grapefruits
from a neighbor's tree, while being in underwear. Apparently he also
collected aluminium cans.
a trip abroad, which he had taken shortly before the shooting, he came
back in worse shape than before and stated that nothing in the United
States stood for anything.
While Brown wrote in his application for a job as a teacher in 1961 that
he "always enjoyed being with younger people" and felt that he "could
benefit these younger people with his abilities", as his psychological
problems aggravated over the years, his work began to suffer. Being seen
as a competent teacher for a long time, as his conditioned worsened,
more and more complaints were filed against him. Students began to
refuse to sit in his class as he rambled incoherently about his personal
problems and topics unrelated to his curriculum and conducted confusing
conversations where he stringed together totally unrelated things.
Students would often take advantage of this trait, ask him a question
which would result in him talking for the rest of the period.
On one occasion, on May 5, 1977, Brown sent three girls to detention,
because they refused to sit in his class, as they were "sick and tired
of hearing him talk." He was also known to be very prejudiced, to make
threatening remarks and to insult people from other races.
During his time at Hialeah Junior High Brown wrote a
letter to the principal for "the enlightenment of the assistant
principals" discussing the misbehavior of his students in rambling and
poorly constructed sentences. "I don't read the students their rights as
infants, you all do. (...) If you ever study business law, until a child
is 18, the child can do just about anything the child desires to do and
get away with the abuse. Any adult interfering, is accountable as an
adult, but with infancy laws, the child is a child."
In the summer of 1981 Brown was transferred to Drew
Middle School. There, on December 3, he had a dispute with two students,
who he accused of throwing books. During the argument Brown described
his sexual behavior with a girlfriend and chased the boys with a stapler.
The School Board's director of personnel control, Pat Gray, described
this as "a classroom incident (...) wherein Mr. Brown demonstrated a
significant lack of adult judgment, an overtone of sexual fixation, and
definitive aggression toward students." The schools principal wrote: "I
found Mr. Brown to be incoherent and unable to grasp the severity of the
situation at hand. I, also, fear for the safety of the students since
during my conference with Mr. Brown he demonstrated no regret for his
actions pointing to the fact that he is a 'man' and any man would have
reacted in the same manner."
Principal Octavio Visiedo wrote in his
last evaluation about Brown: "I find Mr. Brown to be a negative force.
Today I did a follow-up observation of Mr. Brown's second-period class
and I continue to be alarmed about the potential for disaster in that
class. As you can see. from today's observation, there is absolutely no
discipline or control in that class and I am concerned for the safety of
the students and also Mr. Brown."
Further he stated that Brown's class was in "total
and complete chaos" with students talking constantly, wandering about at
will and leaving without permission.
Brown reacted by writing a response in which he
suggested that the principal "should seek the help" of the School
Board's employe assistance program to which he himself was referred to
in January 1982.
Psychiatrist Dr. Robert A. Wainger who examined him
assessed that "Mr. Brown is suffering from rather severe anxiety
associated with some paranoid and grandiose ideas" and that he also "demonstrates
a probable thinking disorder". Though Wainger wrote that these symptoms
would affect Brown's work he was also of the opinion that he would be
able to continue teaching given psychotherapy and medication. Wainger
also wrote that "although he may appear to be rather unusual and
disorganized to the people around him, he (Brown) does not represent a
danger to either
After his examination Brown wrote to Wainger: "I wish
to thank you for the very interesting and informative meeting I
experienced yesterday. Please stress blood analysis, heart cartograph
and urine plus the other mental health features of your program."
Finally, on March 3, Brown was relieved of his duties to seek
psychiatrical help and he aggreed to seek further treatment from Wainger,
though in a meeting with Pat Gray, Brown apparently said: "Wainger wants
to study me, that's all. I can cure Dr. Wainger. I will treat him. I
will change his seeds."
According to his former wife,
Sylvia, Brown asked to return to work two days prior to the shooting,
but his psychiatrist, who later stated that Brown showed no
aggressiveness at that time, declined his request.
19, the day before the shooting, Brown had a heated argument with Jorge
Castalleda, an employee at "Bob Moore's Welding & Machine Service Inc.",
about a 20$ bill for repairing a lawnmower-motor he wanted to use to
power his bicycle, saying the work was poorly done. He was also angry,
because his traveler's check was refused.
that his complaints were of no avail, Brown left the shop, stating that
he would come in and kill everybody. Though nobody took his threat
Early the next day Brown went to a gun store
a few blocks from his home in Hialeah and purchased two shotguns, a semi-automatic
rifle and ammunition. An hour before starting his rampage, Brown invited
his 10-year old son to join him in "killing a lot of people" telling
that the final destination would be Hialeah Junior High School.
Shortly before 11:00 a.m. he arrived at the welding shop on his cycle,
wearing a Panama hat and having one of the shotguns, which was variously
identified as a Mossberg 500 or an Ithaca 37,
slung over his shoulder.
He entered the shop through a side door and began
shooting, saying that he would send everybody to Germany. According to
police Brown walked through the building, methodically shooting everyone,
most of the time at close range and sometimes twice, leaving three
victims in the office and others in the work area and the driveway in
front of the shop. In the end six of the eleven employees present lay
dead and two more dying, while three injured managed to escape and jump
into the car of a passing motorist, who brought them to a petrol station
a mile away and called for help.
When his gun was emptied Carl Brown stepped out of
the store, reloaded and reentered, to shoot two more times, before
leaving for good and cycling away, apparently towards Hialeah Junior
High School. According to a witness Brown "looked very passive and very
non-chalant" and "wasn't trying to escape, just strictly leaving the
crime scene." Another witness put it this way: "He got on his bike and
pedaled off as if he was going for a stroll on North River Drive."
When Mark Kram, an employee at a nearby metal shop, was told of the
massacre, he grabbed a .38 revolver and set out to persue the shooter in
his car. Down the street he picked up Ernest Hammett, who was trying to
flag down cars, ant together they tried to get hold of the perpetrator.
Six blocks away from the crime scene, near Miami
International Airport, they caught up with Brown and Kram, according to
himself, fired a warning shot "over his (Brown's) head", though the
bullet hit Brown in the back and later proved to be the cause of his
death. When Carl Brown turned in his saddle, aiming at his pursuers with
his shotgun, they ran him over, crashing him into a concrete light pole.
Brown, who had still 20 shells in his pockets, died shortly afterwards.
Nelson Barrios, 46, welder
Lonie Jeffries, 53, crane operator
Carl Lee, 47, manager
Ernestine Moore, 67, the machine shop owner's
Magnum Moore, 78, the machine shop owner's uncle
Martha Steelman, 29, secretary
Juan Tres-Palacios, 38, machinist
Pedro Vasques, 44, shop foreman
The injured were identified as Carlos Vasquez Sr.,
42, Carlos Vasquez Jr., 17 and Eduardo Lima, 30.
Police found a cassette tape
in Brown's house, where he called himself "Logos", a mythical figure he
considered to be thecontrolling principle of the universe. "This is the
Logos speaking. God through me is responsible for the good and bad
sounds in your head." "Now I shall say a few good words in your head
before I return you to the bad sounds in your head ... The Logos is the
spark of God, the most logical. I am indestructable on Earth." No
charges were filed against Kram.