Springfield Mall's 1985 Shooter: Where is She Now?

A Springfield resident killed 3 and injured 7 in a Delaware County mass shooting, 27 years ago.

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.

Share your thoughts with Patch in the comments below.

JDBroomall July 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
She decided to stop shooting and allowed the arrest JUST like the guy in the movie theatre. Only reason these events werent worse is because the shooters decided to stop shooting. If a person was there that was carrying a firearm, these tragedies may have been avoided or at least significantly reduced. "Gun free zones" like malls and movie theatres are Turkey Shoots for people full of defenseless, unarmed law abiding citizens. That is why these lunatics choose these locations to go on mass shootings. Get a firearm, a LTCF and be ready to protect yourself and your family.
Michael Savitski July 26, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Whenever something like this happens, the debates heat up over gun control. People are missing the real issue. The mental health laws were completely gutted in the late 70's, thus giving us streets full of homeless people, and the inability to control deranged individuals until AFTER they've done something dangerous. The issue this country really needs to address is how to help it's mentally unstable population BEFORE they do something dangerous.
guns kill July 30, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The problem IS gun control. You are correct, most mentally ill become homeless initially until they commit a crime and then they go to jail. In jail they are victimized, sexually molested and often end up in solitary confinement.THEN they are released back into society more delusional than ever. There is no room at the INN Mr Savitsky. The mentally ill are now so numerous they cannot be housed. Though housing is not available guns are easily accessable. Sometimes it is difficult to even identify these mentally ill people. Most of us in Newtown knew that John Dupont was a paranoid psychotic even before he shot that poor wrestler and orphaned his young children. Dupont hired people to bore holes in his house every 6 inches as he was sure "someone was watching". What is not known is that he was made an Auxilliary member of the Newtown Township Police Department in the 1980's. I understand he had a very nice shooting range the police used for target practice. Perhaps those police officers could not discern the subtle way that Dupont presented his mental status. I doubt they could diagnose Dupont's disease. Even qualified mental health specialists have difficulty getting a patient committed. I recall an article in the Inquirer about how the only way to commit a mental patient is "to wait until they shoot the gun, then catch the bullet in midair and then committment can be approved". In other words they have to get the gun first and they can easily get one. We need GUN Control.
guns kill July 30, 2012 at 03:30 PM
There were plenty of people at Columbine high school without guns. Children are not permitted to carry a gun into a high school. What should those children have done? Many of us watched the dozens of armed law enforcement experts trying to extricate those children from that "gun free zone". Your response is your personal opinion, it just happens to be completely unrealisic. We need gun control. By the way, statistically a person who attempts to use a gun for self defense is more likely to die in an attack unless they use that gun regularly. Most people live quiet lives, they are not shooting off guns daily.


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