Arkansas State Police confirms, Westside School shooter killed in crash

Updated: Jul. 29, 2019 at 7:56 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Missouri man, who was 11 years old when he and another teen shot and killed four students and a teacher at Westside Middle School in 1998, was killed Saturday evening in a two vehicle crash in Independence County.

Drew Grant, 33, of Jackson, Mo. was driving a 2017 Honda CRV north on Highway 167 near Cave City around 9 p.m. July 27 when the crash happened.

According to a preliminary fatal crash summary from Arkansas State Police, Daniel Petty, 59, of Essex, Mo. was going south on Highway 167 in a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe.

The Tahoe drove left of the center-line, crossed a turn lane and both northbound lanes and hit the Honda head-on, ASP said. Petty was also killed in the crash.

Three other people, who were injured in the crash, were taken to hospitals in Little Rock and Batesville, the report noted.

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said law enforcement is working under the premise that Grant, who legally changed his name from Andrew Golden, are “one in the same.”

The investigation into the crash is ongoing and Sadler said officials have received both identification and property from family members of Grant.

Mitch Wright, whose wife Shannon was a teacher at Westside and was killed that day, offered this comment regarding Grant’s death on behalf of him and his son, Zane:

“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. Sadness for his wife and son, sadness that that they too will feel the loss that we have felt. To his family, we are so sorry for your loss. We are praying that his wife and child will make a full recovery,”

Mitch and Zane Wright

Betty Fuller, a teacher at the school at the time of the shooting, also commented on his death:

I am VERY saddened at the loss of this young life as I would be any other student. Regardless of whatever I feel in my own heart, I certainly hope he had found peace and forgiveness with the ONE that mattered. My focus now is continued healing and praying for a set of parents that not only lost their child once, but twice. I just cannot imagine the pain.

Betty Fuller

In 2008, Grant, who changed his name from Golden, had applied for a concealed carry handgun permit and had been denied.

At the time, officials said that fingerprints given by Golden in 1998 matched the prints of “Drew Grant”, the name he provided when he had filled out the application.

The Arkansas State Police denied his request for the permit, when questions arose over the fingerprints and accuracy over past addresses.

Then-deputy prosecuting attorney Mike Walden said state law sets the rules on juvenile court and jurisdiction over cases.

However, Walden said the idea of someone convicted of a violent crime owning a weapon was difficult to comprehend.

“As a member of law enforcement, it always troubles us when someone who has been convicted of a serious crime, a violent crime, especially one involving weapons reaches a stage where he is authorized to own weapons again,” Walden said.

In 2017, officials also released details about a series of depositions that Golden did with attorneys in April 2000 and in 2008.

The documents, as well as video of the depositions, were released after a $150 million judgment was issued against Golden (Grant) and Mitchell Johnson.

The judgment in the case prohibited both Golden (Grant) and Johnson from profiting from the 1998 shooting.

The depositions were done in the Craighead County Courthouse in Jonesboro, with a suit filed by family members of teacher Shannon Wright and students Natalie Brooks, Paige Ann Herring, Stephanie Dawn Johnson and Brittney Ryen Varner against Golden, Johnson, family members of Golden as well as a pair of firearms companies.

Pam Herring, the mother of Paige Ann Herring, said in 2017 that the family hoped something could be learned from the tragedy that day.

“This effort was never about any money for us. We had to honor our loved ones and tell the court how much it hurt to have them taken from us, even all these years later. We also hope something can be learned from their depositions which may help prevent a similar incident in the future. We all appreciate the support from the Jonesboro community and from around the country.”

Pam Herring, 2017

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