“Criminals are made, not born.” Those were the words written on a sign next to Andrew Kehoe’s barn in Bath Township, Michigan.
In 1927, Andrew Kehoe was distraught over his wife’s long, expensive battle with tuberculosis. At the same time, he lost in the town clerk election and his farm faced foreclosure largely because of property taxes levied to repay bonds for the local school.
Kehoe was never at his best under pressure. His neighbors would later remember him as short-tempered and impatient, discontent with imperfect systems and quick to dismiss what didn’t work for him.
He had stopped attending the local church because he refused to pay dues to the administration, and rumor had it that he had once beaten a horse to death.
So when Andrew Kehoe lost the election in 1927 — on top of all his other woes — his neighbors were apprehensive, thinking he might do something desperate. But they never imagined what he had in mind.
On the morning of May 18, Kehoe blew up his house, his barn, and the enclosed corpse of his wife, whom he had recently murdered. Almost simultaneously, he detonated 500 pounds of explosives he’d spent months placing underneath the Bath Consolidated School.
Then he drove to the school and detonated his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself and several others. With 45 dead and at least 58 injured all at once, Kehoe isn’t technically a serial killer, but this is still the worst school massacre in American history.