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THEN AND NOW: Teacher Who Subdued School Shooter Barry Loukaitis Recalls That Day

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KHQ's Stephanie Vigil had the opportunity to talk with former math teacher and wrestling coach Jon Lane, who subdued Loukaitis and saved the rest of the algebra class from Barry's wrath. KHQ's Stephanie Vigil had the opportunity to talk with former math teacher and wrestling coach Jon Lane, who subdued Loukaitis and saved the rest of the algebra class from Barry's wrath.
SPOKANE, Wash. - School shootings were still a relatively unheard of when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis walked into Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake in 1996 dressed as a wild west gunslinger and armed with several guns and 89 rounds of ammunition.

The aftermath of his evil plan left a teacher and 2 of his classmates dead and all those in his algebra class traumatized for life.

It's been 18 years since the horrible tragedy occurred. Barry is now in his mid-30's, serving two life sentences and an additional 205 years in Clallam Bay Prison.

KHQ's Stephanie Vigil had the opportunity to talk with former math teacher and wrestling coach Jon Lane, who subdued Loukaitis and saved the rest of the algebra class from Barry's wrath.

Jon may never know what drove Barry Loukaitis to act on his plot, but he has an idea. 

"Barry started to get into very dark things. Writing dark poems and watching dark movies  and violent videos and so on. I think pretty soon that became his reality. He thought he was avenging something. I don't know what it was. Whether he'd been bullied or not, it never came up in the trial there's always a lot of speculation about that. I suspect their could have been. I never even found out. I never talked to Barry since it happened," Lane said as he remembered that day.

When asked if he would like to talk with Barry today, Lane thought and said, "A lot of time has passed and I think i would. He as much as anybody lost his life that day." 

Although Lane isn't exactly sure what he would say to Barry. 

"I don't know. I don't know how I would handle it. I'm not mad at Barry. I'm not bitter at him. If anything I'm sad for him."

While Lane feels sorry for Loukaitis, he also feels for his victims.

"I cant imagine the terror those kids had when he came into the classroom and started shooting and they saw people die in front of their eyes. I didn't see people die, but I saw the aftermath of that carnage." 

Carnage that Lane says is still very vivid in his mind. 

"He said he was going to take me hostage and take me out of the classroom and put the gun in my mouth," Lane recalled. 

Despite that horrible day, Lane has been able to move forward in his life. 

"I talked about it a lot. I have a great family support and I'm strong in my faith, at least I think I am. I didn't hold it in really, and that was the right thing to do."

Jon may never end up talking with Loukaitis, but as a parent and teacher for more than three decades, he's got a message he'd like to share.

"Parents need to be good parents, they need to supervise their kids. They need to love their kids. They need to be involved in their lives. Kids go through a lot of difficult times and its not easy." 


18 years later and school violence has only gotten worse. John believes it's because there is a breakdown in societal values, religious values, and a breakdown in the family.  He even blamed the media.  

But his message is clear: Parents need to stay involved in their children's lives and the lives of their friends. Parenting is not always easy, but it's worth it.

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