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TRAGEDY IN SCHOOL

MADMAN WITH LOADED REVOLVER OPENS FIRE ON THE CHILDREN. TWO DEAD; NINE WOUNDED. SCHOOLMASTER ALSO SERIOUSLY HURT ARREST AFTER LONG SIEGE. (Special to "star.") Waikino, this day. The small country 3chool at Waikino, a township a few miles' distant from Waihi, was the scene of a sensational and distressing tragedy. Half an hour after school had opened for the day an elderly man of the locality, named J. E. Higgins, entered the schoolroom and engaged the teacher, Mr. R. T. Reid, in conversation for some moments. Then, for some unaccountable reason, he produced- a revolver, and started fcring indiscriminately into the mass of the assembled children. Appalled by the wanton insanity of the man's achon, Mr. Reid rushed at the madman and attempted to overpower him, but was shot down. The panic-stricken children made a wild rush for tha door and windows, but before they had got clear about a dozen of them had been injured by the shots. A girl named McGarry, and ihree boys, McLean, McKinney and Shaw, as well as the schoolmaster, were seriously injured. STAMPEDE FROM THE SCHOOL. When the children, who numbered nearly 2QO, had stampeded from the room, ail of them getting out, although three were wounded in the abdomen, Kiggins barricaded himself inside. Meanwhile, attention was given to the wounded, and word was sent to the Waihi police, while a watch was set on the madman.. Four of the children were sent to the Waihi Hospital, where two of them died of their injuries. EESIEGED FOR TWO HOURS. The arrival or? the scene of Constable Oisen, from Waihi, was signalled by a shot fired from within the buiiding by Higgins. Two civilians were slightly wounded by shots from the building as a prolonged siege was set up, and eventually, after a couple of exciting hours, Higgins was captured. The man is between 50 and 60 years of age, and is a local firewood dealer. LATER. HOW IT STARTED. Before he started the shooting Higgins engaged in an altercation -with the schoolmaster, informing the latter that he was going to shoot all the children. He then produced a Colt's revolver and opened fire. Mr. Reid told the children to run for their lives, and he tried to overpower the maniac, ! "but was himself shot. During the rush for the door, the demented man shot two children dead and wounded four j others. THE SCHOOLMASTER'S ESCAPE. I The police from Waihi arrived promptly, under Senior Sergeant O'Grady. Higgins fired through the window, Constable Olsen (Waihi) being shot through the groin. Mr. Reid, the schoolmaster, received two shots through the face and feigned to be dead on the floor of the schoolroom. Higgins, evidently under the impression he had killed his victim, rolled the body over and left him. The police eventually induced Higgins to throw his revolver out of the window, and the man was then arrested after a struggle in which he received some injury and he was taken to the hospital. LIST OF CASUALTIES. Those who were shot dead were ? '- ->y named McLean, aged ten years, and a boy. Stewart, cf the same age. McLean is a son of Mrs. McLean, of Wakewheta. Stewarts father resides at Waikino. Those wounded are:— Katie McGarry, shot through the leg. P. McKenney, shot through the hand. Roy Shaw, shot in the hand. — Bustard (a boy), shot in the groin. Police Constable Olsen, shot in .the groin. R. T. Reid, schoolmaster, shot in the face. With the exception of McKenney and Shaw, all the i casualty cases were admitted to the hospital. SCHOOL LIKE ABATTOIR. It was found that the demented man had a five-chamber Colt revolver and a box of ammunition. The affair caused a great sensation in Waikino and Waihi. The schoolroom presents the appearance of an abattoir.

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TRAGEDY IN SCHOOL Auckland Star, Volume LIV, Issue 250, 19 October 1923

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