Jake Johnson Says His Mother's 'Gut Feeling' Saved Him from 1988 School Shooting

While attending fourth grade in Winnetka, Illinois, Johnson's elementary school was subject to a shooting by a local woman

<p>Jim Spellman/WireImage</p>

Jim Spellman/WireImage

Jake Johnson narrowly missed a school shooting because of his mother’s intuition.

“I was sitting next to my mom, I was in fourth grade,” the New Girl alum said on Dope as Usual earlier this week. “Out of nowhere, my mother turns to me and goes, ‘You’re not going to school tomorrow.’”

It was a field trip day, and Johnson argued at the time that he wanted to keep his normal routine, but his mom won the argument.

“The next day — May 20, 1988 — a woman walks into my elementary school through the door that my class was in,” he recalled. “A woman walked into the school wearing a robe and nothing underneath. … The room was empty, she walked through, walked down the hall, walked into another room, shot seven kids, killed one of them. True story.”

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The shooting took place in Winnetka, Illinois. According to an ABC 7 Chicago report, Laurie Dann — who was known to suffer from mental illness — walked into the second grade classroom and claimed she was there to teach the students about guns before open firing on the class. Dann also attempted to set fire to another school and the home of the family she had been babysitting on the same day. 

Jim Spellman/WireImage
Jim Spellman/WireImage

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Looking back, Johnson admits that his natural tendency to fall back on comedy could have made a horrific situation worse. “I would have said something,” he guessed of possibly seeing Dann in her robe at his school. “I would have tried to show off, I would have tried to get laughs. There’s no question.”

Noting that he and his mother rarely talk about the incident, he added, “My mom cannot explain why she did not want me to go to school.”

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