On the morning of July 12, 1976, photographer Paul Herzberg was sitting on the edge of a table in an office in what is now the Pollak Library. Across from him Bruce Jacobsen, a media center assistant, leaned against the wall. To his left, secretary Karen Dwinell sat at her desk.
Herzberg was talking to his co-workers about his recent European vacation when a gunman fired one shot and entered the room. Herzberg rose to protect Dwinell, who sat directly in the path of the shooter’s icy stare.
A bullet penetrated his chest. A second bullet struck him in the skull. He was 30 years old.
He sank into the floor, the second of nine to be shot on a sunny Monday by a deranged janitor named Edward Charles Allaway. The first bullet struck Jacobsen in the chest, but it happened so quickly, his co-workers hadn’t realized.
Jacobsen hit Allaway over the head with a metal statue, which authorities later found clutched in his lifeless fingers. But an unfazed Allaway shot Jacobsen again, this time at point-blank range.
Jacobsen stepped away slowly.
Dwinell followed him as he sought coverage in a conference room at the back of the office. The gunman fired once more inside. Dwinell hunched down low and quiet behind Jacobsen as the firing continued.
He slumped over into Dwinell’s trembling arms. She looked to him and called his name, but Jacobsen gave no answer, so she dragged him over to a file cabinet as he gasped for breath. She looked on helplessly and watched him die. He was 32 years old.
In all, seven died during a shooting rampage, which authorities said lasted no more than five minutes in what is now the Pollak Library basement and the first floor lobby.
Allaway, later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, claimed certain co-workers had driven him to kill. They taunted him about his wife, he said. They forced her to appear in pornographic films, he told a psychiatrist after his arrest.
Next in Allaway’s path were graphic artist Frank Teplansky, 51, and professor emeritus Seth Fessenden, 72. The two were working in the graphics department. Pinned on the walls around them were caricature sketches Teplansky had drawn of fellow media center personnel.
Teplansky, described during a campus memorial service as a “genial, hardworking, cooperative personality,” had a desire “to be an effective person in an effective instructional media center,” according to reports.
Fessenden had been one of the university’s 10 founding members in 1959. A slim, soft-spoken man, with thinning white hair and thick-rimmed glasses, Fessenden was conducting research in preparation for a class he planned to teach. That’s when Allaway burst into the room.
Fessenden, sitting closest to the door, died instantly. But Teplansky fell at his workstation, receiving three gun shots to his back and neck. It took him several more hours to die.
Teplansky’s daughter Pat Almazan held his hand as he gasped his last breaths at St. Jude Hospital. His hairpiece had fallen off, she said, and he had several tubes coming in and out of his body. But there was no blood.
He squeezed Almazan’s hand as if he was trying to tell her something, she said. And then he died.
“It was so hard to see my father like that, because he was such a strong man,” Almazan said.
After Allaway left the graphic department, he came across two, who many believed were some of Allaway’s only friends on the job, fellow custodians Debbie Paulsen, 25, and Donald Karges, 41.
Though several other library employees poked curious heads from their office doorways, Allaway blew past them, his sights set on the man and woman before him.
Other custodians on the job said Allaway was upset that the university hired a Mexican-American from the outside as lead custodian when Karges had applied for the same position, according to court testimony.
Karges – described during the campus memorial service that took place days after the slayings as a “serious man interested in bettering himself and others” – died face down after being shot in the back.
He had reportedly left another custodial position for CSUF because custodians had been surrounded by violence at his former job, according to reports.
Some said Paulsen dated Allaway.
He would call her from time to time, though her brother has said his sister only saw Allaway as a friend. She was nice to everyone, according to reports, and Allaway took it the wrong way.
After foot surgery that summer, Paulsen’s co-workers sent a card. Allaway signed “Love, Ed.”
But Paulsen refused his advances. At the criminal trial Allaway’s estranged wife, who filed for divorce shortly after the killings, could not confirm a romantic relationship between her husband and any other women.
Paulsen was the only woman shot that day.
She was beginning the master’s program for a degree in American studies. That morning she visited with university secretary Jenny Galvan and griped about running behind schedule after a morning meeting ran long, Galvan said in her court testimony.
Galvan heard running footsteps and screams in the hallway outside her office, then a sound like firecrackers, she said. She peered from a small window in her door toward some cabinets in the hallway. She saw Paulsen fall slowly to the ground, she said, like slow motion.
“I could see her eyes and they were a little open, and she was gasping,” Galvan said. “She had blood on her blouse. She had little round circles of blood. She had blood on her arm. She wasn’t moving.”
After killing Paulsen and Karges, Allaway confronted morning-shift custodial supervisor Maynard Hoffman, 64, on the library’s first floor. He unloaded several rounds into the elevator Hoffman tried to escape in, striking him once in the chest.
Then library technician Stephen Becker threw a porcelain plate at Allaway and came running up behind him in an attempt to wrestle the gun from Allaway’s control. The two fought back and forth, firing the gun a few times in the confrontation.
Library supervisor Don Keran, 55, saw the commotion and grabbed Allaway in a bear hug, trying to help Becker wrestle the gun away. Keran wrestled Allaway across tables and chairs and up against a wall in the library, Keran said in his court testimony. He fell backward. Keran’s elbows fidgeted as he attempted to get back on his feet.
Allaway dangled the rifle inches over his chest and pulled the trigger.
Keran managed to get to his feet as Allaway ran away. He stammered into a nearby office to call for paramedics, he testified, but the operator said she couldn’t help him. All the ambulances had been called; no more help was available.
First aid eventually found Keran, and he survived the attack, along with Hoffman, but 32-year-old Becker didn’t.
Becker chased Allaway, who tried to flee the scene through an emergency exit. Allaway turned and reportedly shot Becker in the chest as he ran after him.
Becker staggered some 20 feet from the door and fell. He was the son of Ernest Becker, who was the university’s director of placement, a one-time CSUF communications dean and a founding faculty member of the university.
The elder Becker reportedly rode in the ambulance with his son who died en route to St. Jude Hospital.
Former Summer Titan editor Stephen Nill, who was 19 at the time, had planned to pick up a video that morning from the younger Becker, he said. He was running late.
Nill reached the library 15 minutes after his scheduled appointment, and emergency personnel had already begun to rope off the area, he said. Near the fire hydrant at the southeast corner of the library, Nill saw his friend Becker sprawled out and bleeding on the pavement, paramedics tending to his limp body.
“I’ve tried to put it out of my mind all these years,” Nill said. “But it’s the kind of thing that just sears your memory.”
While the library basement has been drastically renovated in the 30 years since Orange County’s bloodiest mass murder, remembrances of the lives Allaway took still remain.
A dedication ceremony in October of 1978 honored each individual who was killed, and seven Italian Stone pine trees were planted in the Memorial Grove, which was erected between the north side of the library and the south side of the Kinesiology Building.
Each of the slain left behind families and friends who won’t soon forget the atrocious crimes committed that day.
They are the survivors, victims in their own right, who bear scars not visible to eyes alone.
Edward Charles Allaway gunned down nine co-workers on the morning of July 12, 1976, killing seven. In the months following the spree, two more died – an indirect result of Allaway’s actions.
His sister, Shirley Sabo, whom Allaway moved in with when he first came to Southern California killed herself shortly after her brother’s trial, according to reports. She had been a secretary in the sociology department at Cal State Fullerton and recommended Allaway for his janitorial position in the library.
Her grief and guilt were too great, however, and she shot herself in the heart, authorities said.
Another young employee worked in the CSUF media center where much of the killing took place. (His case did not receive much media coverage at the time and his name was not printed in initial reports.)
He was not scheduled for work the day the killings, and he claimed to hear the voices of his slain co-workers when he returned to campus telling him he should have been with him, according to reports.
He told others he felt guilty about being able to help his friends. About eight months after the killings, reportedly handed his wristwatch to a co-worker. Then he climbed to the top of the Humanities Building and jumped.