Peoria Recalls School Standoff 30 Years Ago

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Elementary schools as crime scenes are not a new phenomenon. The Peoria Journal Star revists a siege at St. Cecilia’s Grade School in that city that occurred 30 years ago today. It was a standoff between Peoria police and three men holding schoolchildren hostage.

As he and two other men held about 30 fifth-graders at bay, Melvin Burch emerged with a gun to the head of a 10-year-old boy who had volunteered to go outside with him. The 25-year-old Vietnam vet yelled at police, “I’ve come to die. Kill me. Kill me.” They did.


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