Remembering the 1974 school shooting in Olean
What happened in Connecticut is bringing back memories for those involved in a local school shooting decades ago. In 1974, a high school senior in Olean opened fire from the third floor of the high school, killing three and wounding 11 others. YNN's Katie Morse spoke with a firefighter who responded that day and shares his story.
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OLEAN, N.Y. — In 1974, Anthony Barbaro, a student at Olean High School and member of the school's rifle team, locked himself in a room on the school's third floor, and started shooting at people on the streets below.
"He went in there and barricaded it, and put the sofa in front of the door, jammed the door closed, and had the door locked from the inside," explained former Olean firefighter David Grosse. "He had it written down in a book what he was gonna do, so I think he followed everything right to the letter."
Grosse responded to the shooting, and had to take cover behind a small stone wall with another firefighter as the bullets were flying.
"There was a young man laying on the ground, his wife and children in the car. We were trying to throw a medical kit to him, and we were gonna run over and patch him up, and the guy I was with got shot, so that ended that abruptly. We crawled out of there," he explained.
The shooting lasted about two hours. Barbaro killed three people, including one pregnant woman, and injured 11 others. He was eventually taken into custody by police using tear gas, and killed himself a year later when he was in jail.
The school has undergone some changes since the shooting, but Grosse says to this day he still can't drive by Olean High School without looking up at the windows, and remembering what happened all those years ago. He says those feelings came flooding back when he saw what happened in Connecticut.
"You can't help but think about it," he said. "It's one of those things that's gonna be with you forever. It's weird when you think of it - we were the first you know really? Little town, little burg like this, can happen anyplace if it happens here."