In Chicago Suburb, an Anniversary That Most Would Rather Forget


It has been 20 years since Laurie Dann terrorized Winnetka, Ill., with poison, flames and deadly gunfire–a one-day spree whose effects still resonate far beyond the exclusive North Shore community where it began. On May 20, 1988, Dann shot six children at an elementary school, killing Nicholas Corwin, 8. She took hostages in a home, where she shot a college student before killing herself. The Chicago Tribune looks back at the deadly day.

Those closest to the tragedy describe a community that still mourns in private, shunning observances of a day most would prefer to forget. Even on the 20th anniversary, no memorial is planned. In 1988, Dann was 30 and had a history of mental illness. She started her day early May 20. Before entering Hubbard Woods about 10:30 a.m., she lit a house on fire, attempted to firebomb a school and delivered poisoned snacks to people she knew. She could have killed dozens had any of those attempts succeeded.


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