In a recent heart-rending interview on the "Dope as Usual" podcast, acclaimed actor Jake Johnson shared a chilling account of how his mother's instinctive premonition spared him from being present during a tragic school shooting in 1988.
Johnson, renowned for his role in the hit series "New Girl," recounted the fateful day that forever changed the lives of many at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, Illinois. On the morning of May 20, 1988, as a fourth grader at the school just north of Chicago, Johnson was unexpectedly stopped by his mother from attending class.
"I was in fourth grade out of nowhere my mother turns to me and goes, 'You're not going to school tomorrow,'" Johnson, now 45, recounted. Despite his initial protest, he was permitted to join a field trip to Chicago's Little Vietnam, a decision that inadvertently kept him out of harm's way.
Tragedy Strikes School
On that same day, Laurie Dann, the perpetrator, entered the school through the door adjacent to Johnson's usual classroom seat. "I used to get in a lot of trouble as a kid and I used to always talk so the teacher pushed me in the far right corner.
So I sat away from the other kids and I was right by the door," Johnson explained. He shudderingly acknowledged that his typical behavior might have led to a tragic interaction with Dann. Because Johnson's class was absent on the field trip, Dann proceeded down the hallway, opening fire in another classroom.
This horrific incident tragically took the life of 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin and left five other students injured. Dann's rampage continued beyond the school premises. NBC Chicago reported that after fleeing the school, she invaded the home of Ray and Ruth Ann Andrew, critically injuring their teenage son, Phil Andrew, before ultimately taking her own life.
Decades later, Johnson remains profoundly affected by the events of that day, frequently pondering over his mother's intuition. "To this day, my mom cannot explain why she didn't want me to go to school when I've talked to her," he shared.
He vividly recalls her words, "I don't know, Jake. I just, I had a feeling in my gut. (If my) kid goes to school, you're never gonna see him again."