breaking news

Woman arrested in Gardens Petco dognapping

POST TIME: Lake Worth Middle teacher killed by student 15 years ago


Readers: This week marks the 15th anniversary of the horrific slaying of Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow, in the doorway of his classroom, at the hand of his 13-year-old student, Nathaniel Brazill.

On May 26, 2000, the last day of the school year, Brazill — due to get an F in Grunow’s class, and angry after being suspended — went to the home of a family friend. There, on the table, was a legally owned pistol

Making ominous comments such as “I’m going to be all over the news,” the seventh-grader returned to the school, standing at Grunow’s classroom door, asking to see his friends. Grunow laughed and refused. Brazill cocked the cheap pistol and shot the 35-year-old father of two in the face.

Police interrogation video shows him weeping after a detective told him that Grunow was dead. “What was I thinking? What was I thinking?” he cried.

Brazill, now 28, remains in state prison. In 2010, in a 10-year-anniversary interview with the late Palm Beach Post reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel, Brazill said he was looking forward to his release date: May 18, 2028. He’ll be nearly 42.

He said of the slaying, “I have to live with that fact every day.”

Brazill’s mother, Polly Powell, died in 2008. In prison, Brazill earned his GED and law clerk and paralegal certifications. In July 2011, he filed a lawsuit from prison alleging his civil rights were violated when prison officials transferred him twice and put him in solitary confinement for what he claimed was retaliation for filing an earlier suit. Both were dismissed.

Grunow’s widow sued the pawn shop that sold the pistol, as well as the family friend and the Palm Beach County School Board. All cases were settled out of court for more than $1 million. Grunow also sued the maker of the gun. A jury ruled that the company had to pay $1.2 million, but that was overturned by the trial judge and an appeals court.

Friends of Barry Grunow later created a memorial “run for the money” 5K run/walk that each year awards scholarships. This year the event will be a golf tournament in October at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. Call 561-543-5541.

In 2001, a year after Grunow’s death, Florida Atlantic University dedicated a butterfly garden to the 1987 graduate. Fighting to control her emotions, Grunow’s wife, Pam, a former special education teacher, recalled how her husband delighted in the butterfly garden at their own home.

“The loved ones we grieve for are still around,” Pam Grunow said. “We can make good out of bad if we want to.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

If you've never been on a photo walk, you're missing a good thing
If you've never been on a photo walk, you're missing a good thing

I am, if I may say so, an excellent writer. The same can not be said for my photography skills. I mean, I do OK with my iPhone for basic selfie and family snapshot purposes. But that's particularly in pretty places that are almost impossible to screw up. Too often, shots that seem important parts of a trip or experience, like historic buildings, funny...
NEW: Boca councilwoman asks mayor to publicly apologize for ethics violations
NEW: Boca councilwoman asks mayor to publicly apologize for ethics violations

BOCA RATON — A Boca Raton councilwoman asked her colleague Mayor Susan Haynie to publicly apologize for violating ethics law when she voted on projects that benefited an outside client of her family’s business, developer James Batmasian. Councilwoman Monica Mayotte, who joined the five-person board in March, called...
NEW: ‘Teddy’ found, woman arrested in Palm Beach Gardens dog theft
NEW: ‘Teddy’ found, woman arrested in Palm Beach Gardens dog theft

A 48-year-old Palm Beach Gardens woman has been arrested in the theft of a dog Saturday from a pet store, and the dog has been returned to its owner.  Police late Monday were seeking to speak with Heather Ryan, who has since been arrested. The 11-year-old Maltese mix named “Teddy” was stolen from the Petco store on Legacy...
Man once cleared in West Palm Chick-fil-A murder is going to prison
Man once cleared in West Palm Chick-fil-A murder is going to prison

Nearly two decades after the execution of an 18-year-old Forest Hill High School student at a West Palm Beach Chick-fil-A, the former co-worker once convicted, then exonerated of his murder, is now headed to prison on a heroin trafficking charge. Jesse Lee Miller, 36, of West Palm Beach, turned himself in Friday. He will go to prison as part of...
Cramped DMV on PGA Boulevard in Gardens to be replaced
Cramped DMV on PGA Boulevard in Gardens to be replaced

The days of sweltering in the heat or getting drenched in the rain while waiting for a new driver’s license soon will be over. Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon on Monday announced plans to demolish the cramped DMV office across from The Gardens Mall on PGA Boulevard to make way for a bigger, better North County Service Center. Construction...
More Stories