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U.S. campus killer had mental problems
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10:06, October 12, 2007

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A 14-year-old student who opened fire at his Ohio high school, wounding four people before killing himself, had a history of mental problems and was known for cursing at teachers and bickering with students.

Asa H. Coon, who had been suspended for fighting, warned classmates of an attack but none took him seriously.

"When he got suspended, he was like 'I got something for you all,"' said student Frances Henderson, who said she often got into arguments with Coon. "I guess this is what he had."

Police believe Coon targeted the two teachers he shot Wednesday. He also shot two students while others hid in closets and bathrooms or ran out of SuccessTech Academy alternative school. Students gathered outside, many in tears, hugging one another and talking on cell phones.

Parents were angry that firearms got into a school equipped with metal detectors that students said were intermittently used.

The incident was the latest in a rash of school shootings in the United States. In April, a South Korean student killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University before killing himself in what was the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Coon's troubles seemed to come to a tipping point this week when he was suspended for fighting outside with a classmate. Students said Monday's fight was over God -Coon told his classmates he did not believe in God and instead worshipped rocker Marilyn Manson.

Armed with two revolvers on Wednesday, Coon fired eight shots, Police Chief Michael McGrath said. Police found a duffel bag stocked with ammunition and three knives in a bathroom, but no suicide note, he said.

Coon had mental health problems, spent time in two juvenile facilities and threatened to commit suicide while in a mental health facility, according to juvenile court records obtained by The Plain Dealer newspaper.

He was also suspended from school last year for attempting to hurt a student, the newspaper said.

"He used to cuss all the teachers out," said Henderson, 14.

Coon, who is white, stood out in the predominantly black school for dressing in a goth style, wearing a black trench coat, black boots, a dog collar and chains, she said.

Source: China Daily/agencies

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