SPRINGFIELD—On Oct. 30, 1985, Sylvia Seegrist, of Springfield, opened fire in the Springfield Mall parking lot and then proceeded inside. Once inside, she killed a 2-year-old child and two men, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Many others were wounded before, John Laufer, a local graduate student, managed to confront and stop Seegrist until a security guard was able to handcuff her.
After being apprehended, Seegrist's only explanation for her actions was, "My family makes me nervous," according to TruTv.
Mental Illness Sited
Seegrist, then age 25, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 10 years before her mall shooting rampage. According to The Baltimore Sun, Seegrist had previously been committed to a mental hospital and she feared her mother planned to recommit her.
Connection to Recent Events
In light of the recent mass shooting at an Aurora, CO, cinema, questions are being raised about how to detect and help mentally ill people before they harm themselves or others.
The 1985 incident started a discussion about individual rights and the state's authority to commit potentially dangerous people.
Where Is She Now?
Prior to the 1986 trial, Seegrist was held at Norristown State Hospital. Following the trial, in which Seegrist was given three life sentences, she was sent to Mayview State Hospital before being transferred to the State Correctional Institution in Muncy where she still resides.
"Every time October 30 rolls around, I have a hard time that day. I have a hard time not crying...the idea that I hurt people...it's hard to describe," said Seegrist in a 1991 Baltimore Times article.
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