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Sunday, 29 March, 1998, 03:39 GMT 04:39 UK
Last Jonesboro victims laid to rest
mourners
Two mourners after teacher Shannon Wright's funeral in Bono, near Jonesboro
Hundreds of people have attended the funerals of the three remaining victims of the shooting at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Stephanie Johnson, Brittheny Varner and their teacher, Shannon Wright, were buried a day after two schoolmates who also died in the attack at Westside Middle School.

wrights
Shannon Wright leaves a husband, Mitchell, and son, Zane, 2
Mrs Wright, an English teacher, was shot while shielding a student from the attack.

"Others are alive today because of her," Minister Benny Baker told the mourners at her funeral service in Bono Church of Christ.

"The word hero has been used a lot lately. If you want to see a real hero, if you want to hear the voice of an angel, if you want to look courage in the eye, then look no farther than Shannon Wright."

Stephanie Johnson, 12
Stephanie Johnson, 12
Mourners wept as sad pop songs played at the service for Stephanie Johnson. Classmates said the dark-haired 12-year-old had been a friendly and quiet girl.

"This is a tragedy that we wish we could turn about, but we can't," said Rev Alvin Swan. "There can be some good things come of this."

Jonesboro residents are now trying to come to terms with the traumatic event that has focused attention on gun violence in US schools.

Clinton's message to mourners

Across the world on his tour of Africa, President Clinton delivered a message to the mourners and the nation in his weekly radio address.

"We have seen a community come together in grief and compassion for one another and in a determination that terrible acts like these must no longer threaten our nation's children," he said.

Mr Clinton said he had asked the Attorney General, Janet Reno, to try to determine whether there are common threads between the Jonesboro tragedy and similar shootings in Kentucky and Mississippi in the past five months.

"We have to understand that young children may not fully appreciate the consequences of actions that are destructive but may be able to be romanticised at a twisted moment," he said.

Eleven-year-old Natalie Brooks and 12-year-old Paige Ann Herring, each remembered for smiles and upbeat attitudes, were laid to rest in separate services on Friday.

The boys suspected of the killings, Drew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, are being held on five counts each of murder and 10 counts of battery.

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President Clinton: 'We may never make sense of the senseless, but we have to try' (4'07')
Links to more US shooting stories are at the foot of the page.


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