Cal State Fullerton Remembers Victims of On-Campus Shooter 40 Years Ago

Many Titans lounge or study underneath seven stone pines lined in front of Cal State Fullerton’s library called Memorial Grove—completely unaware that these trees honor the victims of an on-campus massacre that was, at the time, Orange County’s deadliest shooting . 

On July 12th 1976, campus custodian Edward Charles Allaway, shot nine people and killed 7 in Cal State Fullerton’s Library basement. Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of this tragedy which drew an intimate crowd for a candlelight vigil at Memorial Grove.

Paul Paulsen remembered his sister Deborah Paulsen, an English student on campus and one of the victims of the shootings who died, for her kind heart, love for literature and passion for the Beatles. “She was the quintessential flower child.” Paulsen said. 

Pat Almazan recalled rushing to see her father, Frank Teplansky, a graphic artist for the university, at St. Jude Hospital just after the shooting and moments before he passed.  She believes her father waited for her to reach his bedside before passing away.  “He managed to stay alive until I can get to him,” Almazan said. “He died shortly after with his hand in mine.” 

Allaway is now 77 years-old and remains in a state hospital. Even though Allaway is serving multiple life sentences, he can still annually petition for his release.

Both Paulsen and Almazan have spoken out against mass shootings and have aggressively opposed any of Allaway’s attempts for release from State hospital throughout the last 40 years. 

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer reminded the audience that activism is necessary to keep the killer from re-entering society.  Spitzer, ever the attention hog, then cited his participation in organizing a protest to advocate against Alloway’s attempt to be released in 2001. “You must be persistent and never rest because that’s justice in the final analysis” 

Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner assured that Allaway will remain off Orange County’s streets—Wagner has prosecuted Allaway since 1999. Wagner then shared he believes Allaway is not deserving of his not-guilty-by-insanity plea and belongs in prison or death row rather than a hospital because he was  “shooting his friends out of anger.”

America is currently busy holding vigils across the nation for what feels like a slew of contemporary mass shootings, and Cal State Fullerton’s president Mildred García addressed that.  “While the events that occurred on campus were rare at that time, they are now all too familiar to those of us here tonight.” García said. 

White flowers along with electronic candles were placed around picture frames of the shooting victims while student violinists created a somber tone as the sun set. Almazan gave her condolences to the friends, families, and victims affected by the Dallas and Orlando shootings. 

“Mass murder is an extreme and horrific attack on unsuspecting and innocent beings, it’s an abomination that we have to get a handle on if we are to continue to be a free nation,” Almazan said,  “And we have to do this with love and compassion that has to be a part of that handle.” 

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