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Family, Friends Remember Slain Teacher as a Mentor

May 31, 2000|From Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The teacher who was shot to death in a middle school hallway last week was honored at a memorial service Tuesday as a beloved mentor, coach and counselor who reached out to others "even to the end."

Students, colleagues, family and friends of Barry Grunow, 35, carried single carnations and roses as they filed into Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. Others waited in the center aisle to view a collage of snapshots of Grunow placed on an easel between sprays of flowers.

The music of Jethro Tull, one of Grunow's favorite groups, filled the church.

"Barry was reaching out with grace, even to the end," the Rev. Bill Corristan said. "Even to the young man with a gun."

Seventh-grader Nathaniel Brazill is accused of gunning down Grunow in a hallway Friday at Lake Worth Community Middle School just before the last bell of the last day of the school year.

The 13-year-old boy, an honor roll student with perfect attendance, was dismissed early from school that day by an assistant principal for throwing water balloons.

He returned to school two hours later with a gun allegedly stolen from his grandfather's house. When Grunow wouldn't let the boy in his classroom to talk to two girls, Brazill pulled the gun from his pocket and shot Grunow in the head, police said. A school security camera captured it all.

A regularly scheduled grand jury was impaneled Tuesday and was to begin hearing evidence in the case in one to two weeks, state attorney's office spokesman Mike Edmondson said.

Grunow, who taught English and coached basketball, leaves behind a wife, Pam, 5-year-old son Sam and an infant daughter.

Gov. Jeb Bush called Grunow's wife, Pam Grunow, on Monday night to express his sympathy and offer his support.

"The story of this teacher, this dedicated teacher who was living in the community, riding a bike to school so his wife could attend to the needs of their family . . . those are real heroes," Bush said.

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