Andrew Golden, one of the Jonesboro, Arkansas school shooters, has died at the age of 33 after his vehicle collided head-on with another vehicle in northeastern Arkansas Saturday night, according to Arkansas State Police. Golden had been living under the new name Drew Douglas Grant since his release from prison in connection to the 1998 shooting which killed four students and a teacher.
Television station KAIT reports that Golden died at around 9 p.m. Saturday after a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Daniel Petty, 59, going south on Highway 167 “drove left of the center-line, crossed a turn lane and both northbound lanes” and hit Golden’s 2017 Honda CRV head-on.
Both Golden and Petty were killed in the crash. Three others, including 59-year-old Kathy Tanner, who was in the car with Petty, 29-year-old Stephanie Grant, and a small child, both of whom were in the Honda, were injured and transported to a local hospital, according to WPSD Local 6. Their conditions are not known.
Bill Sadler, a spokesperson for the Arkansas State Police, said law enforcement is working under the premise that Grant and Golden are “one in the same.”
On March 24, 1998, Golden and his then-13-year-old friend Mitchell Johnson set off a fire alarm at Westside Middle School, the middle school they attended, and shot at people as they evacuated the building.
In total, four people were killed, including 12-year-olds Paige Herring and Stephanie Johnson, 11-year-olds Brittney Varner and Natalie Brooks and teacher Shannon Wright. At the time, it was considered the second-deadliest school shooting in modern U.S. history.
Both Golden and Johnson were tried as juveniles and, in accordance with Arkansas State Law, were expected to remain in custody until the age of 21. Johnson was released in 2005 with Golden being released just two years later in 2007. He eventually moved back to Jackson, Missouri, and in 2008 was caught applying for a firearm in Arkansas under his since-changed legal name, according to the Huffington Post.
Speaking of Golden’s death, Mitch and Zane Wright, relatives of the teacher killed in the 1998 shooting, expressed “mixed emotions” over his death.0comments
“The news of Andrew Golden’s death today fills our family with mixed emotions as I’m sure it does with the other families and students of the Westside shooting. Mostly sadness,” they said in a statement. “To his family, we are so sorry for your loss.”
In 2017, families of the victims were awarded $150 million in damages by a Craighead County Courthouse judge.