“My name is Greg Gibson, and I’m speaking with the man who killed my son,” Gibson, 72, says at the beginning of this week’s StoryCorps episode.
“My name is Wayne Lo. I’m sitting here with the father of Galen, whom I murdered 25 years ago,” Lo, 43 responds.
Twenty-five years ago next Thursday, Wayne Lo roamed the campus of Simon’s Rock of Bard College in Great Barrington, Mass., my home before moving to Minnesota. He thought he was getting commands from God to kill people. And so he shot them, killing one student and one professor, wounding several others, including a student from Minnesota.
The school catered to pretty well-off, gifted students and Lo was one of them. When he was in high school in Montana, he played first violin with the Billings Symphony Orchestra. He had great grades. He was on the basketball team. He worked at his parents’ Chinese restaurant.
Then something changed. He wrote a class paper arguing that people with AIDS should be banished to Utah. Other students said he hated Jews, blacks and homosexuals, and claimed the Holocaust never happened, the NY Times reported at the time.
He got a package of ammunition, then drove to the sporting goods store and bought a rifle, then he killed Galen Gibson, an 18-year-old apprentice poet and lover of theater. Teacher Ñacuñán Sáez, 37, was also shot and killed. Among those wounded was Thomas McElderry, then 19, of New York Mills, Minn.
A student, with whom Lo had dined earlier in the evening, alerted the school to the possible attack. No precautions were taken; the police were never notified.
At trial, Lo’s father, a retired colonel in
the Nationalist Chinese Taiwan’s Air Force, said his son told him shortly after his arrest that he had done ‘God’s will’ because ‘there were too many sins on campus.’
Almost all of those details aren’t in the StoryCorps episode. Just Galen’s dad and the man who killed his son.
Armed with the details of the story, the willingness of Galen’s father to approach his son’s killer is all the more remarkable. Lo, on the other hand, seems a much less sympathetic character.
Whatever happened to Thomas McElderry? He’s now a principal financial analyst at the University of California San Francisco.