Girls in Arizona died because of spurned love
A 15-year-old girl killed a peer and herself in Arizona. The motive now seems clear. (symbol photo)
Photo: imago stock&people / imago/Jurgen Schwarz
A schoolgirl shoots first a friend and then herself. The search for the motive leads to great feelings among 15-year-olds.
Washington. Again crime scene school. Gun violence kills young people in America again. But this time everything is different. No anger at teachers, God and the world triggers the tragedy. But spurned love. Two girls find death in the process. They were only 15.
Anyone who sees photos of May Kieu, the infectious smile, the dark, alert eyes behind the glasses, immediately understands why classmates described her as a "cheerful, great" girl. In a school musical at Independence High School in Glendale about the famous "Peanuts" cartoon characters, the daughter of Chinese immigrants was soon to take a leading role. She was also about to take her first driving lessons and longed for a scholarship to university.
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Victim’s sister is teacher at school
Since Friday morning, 8.30 a.m., May Kieu is dead. Shot outside school cafeteria by her sandbox friend Dorothy Dutiel, also 15, who then put gun to her own head and pulled trigger. At least that’s how Phuong Kieu, a teacher at the Arizona school attended by 2,000 children and teenagers – and May Kieu’s sister – tearfully tells the story. According to her account, sophomores May and Dorothy had been close friends for five years.
Classmates talk about a real "relationship", even if the word lesbian is never mentioned. The feelings, they must have been unevenly distributed in the end. Dutiel, who barely hid admiration for her "sweetheart" on Instagram and Twitter, wanted more, Phuong Kieu told TV station ABC. May, on the other hand, had been distancing herself, wanting to break up, looking for a different life.
A suicide note police found at the scene along with the gun reportedly described the emotional state of emergency Dorothy Dutiel was last in. Police in the quiet Phoenix suburb let it be known early on that it wasn’t the usual school shooting. "We are not looking for a shooter who is on the run," police spokeswoman Tracey Breeden says somewhat cagily on camera early in the morning.
Police tactics cause panic among parents
Nevertheless, the authorities proceeded according to protocol. The entire school is immediately cordoned off. By email, the director’s office notifies parents of the deaths, which until then had remained anonymous. What’s supposed to avoid panic triggers the opposite. Dozens of fathers and mothers flock to the school within minutes. The police intercepts them, gathers them in the parking lot of a shopping center. Then it’s called: Wait.
Because students remain banned from using their cell phones to prevent false reports from circulating through social media, an agonizing communication vacuum is created. Rumors make the rounds. If several shooters are active after all? Why aren’t authorities saying anything? "Not knowing what’s going on with your child, I wouldn’t wish that uncertainty on anyone," Sara Cornell says. Finally then the sigh of relief. "Your children are safe," police spokesman explains. One by one, parents are bussed to the main entrance to receive their sons and daughters. Many are pale as corpses. Tearful embraces dominate the scene.
Students hugging, crying after leaving Independence High @abc15 pic.twitter.com/BSHjjoHVd7
– Nick Ciletti (@NickCiletti) 12. February 2016
For Phuong Kieu, the rude awakening comes with a delay. In the morning, she had taken her sister to school in the car as usual. In the flurry of police activity, she protected her class by the book. When talk turns to two female victims, the young woman with long brown hair thinks of anything – "except that". It’s not until a secretary from the school’s principal’s office calls that reality sets in. "May’s not coming back, they told me."
Tweets show teen’s desperation
For relatives and friends, everything revolved around the most difficult question: why? Why did no one notice the mental depths that Dorothy Dutiel was in?? Reading the Twitter posts of the teenager with the pierced right eyebrow gives a retrospective sense of despair: "What am I doing with my life??" it says at one point. "I’m so done," Dutiel wrote at the beginning of February. And then, very briefly, the day before: "Good bye :(".