Students Reach Into Their Pockets To Help New Student

Friday, October 12th 2007, 5:15 pm
By: News On 6

The small town of Crandon, Wisconsin, is still reeling from a shooting last week that left six young people dead, along with the gunman, who was mad at his ex-girlfriend. By coincidence, a Claremore High School student just moved to Oklahoma from Crandon and was good friends with some of the victims. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports 16-year-old John Barnes is surprised to find out what his new classmates are willing to do to help him.

John Barnes has only been in school at Claremore High School since August. He says it's a big change from Crandon, Wisconsin, where he attended 9th and 10th grade.

"It's pretty much just all forests. It's like built around a forest, and there's some nice lakes around, and a lot of people go fishing and what not," Claremore resident John Barnes said.

With fewer than three dozen people in each grade, it's the proverbial town where everyone knows everyone.

"I knew Lianna the best, Lianna Thomas," said Barnes.

Thomas was one of six friends from Crandon High who had gotten together for a late-night pizza party, when they got into an argument with Tyler Peterson, a recent graduate and sheriff's deputy, who had dated one of the other girls at the party. Police say he got angry and came back with a gun. They say he found Thomas hiding in a closet and shot her.

"She had a really good personality. She was really into art. She was in a lot of my art classes," John Barnes said.

John got the news from his mom, who at the time didn't know the names of the people involved, but in such a small town, John knew he would know the victims.

"It was like butterflies, it was just bad. I can't really describe it, but I was just scared y'know," said Barnes.

John says he didn't have enough money to go back home to the funerals, but his new home has that covered. The student council started a fundraiser with a goal of $300, they raised over $1,000.

"I mean they've never met me or anything. They just thought they needed to help,” Barnes said. "I'm really amazed by that."

The high school says they'll keep the surplus money in case any other students need help like this.

The first of the six victim's funerals was held on Friday. John will be leaving Saturday. He says he should be there in time for Lianna's funeral.

Watch the video: Money Raised For Student To Attend Funeral