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Whoa! New Girl Star Jake Johnson’s Mom Had Gut Feeling That Saved Him From 1988 School Shooting

New Girl Star Jake Johnson’s Mom Had Gut Feeling She Would ‘Never’ See Him Again Before 1988 School Shooting

Jake Johnson knows all too well about why you should trust a mother’s intuition sometimes.

During an appearance on the Dope as Usual podcast this week, the 45-year-old actor recalled the wild circumstances surrounding a shooting that happened at his school back in 1988. According to ABC 7 Chicago, a woman named Laurie Dann — who struggled with mental illness — walked into a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, on May 20 of that year. She told the students she was there to teach them about guns and then began firing shots at the class. That same day, Dann attempted to set fire to another school and the home of the family she had been babysitting.

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The horrific school shooting resulted in the death of one student, 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin. Five other children were also injured. So, so awful. Those poor kids. Unfortunately, Jake had been in school on the day of the shooting. But oddly enough, he almost wasn’t in attendance. Why? His mother had a “gut” feeling she would “never” see him again — a day before the incident! The New Girl alum recalled on the podcast:

“I was sitting next to my mom, I was in fourth grade. Out of nowhere, my mother turns to me and goes, ‘You’re not going to school tomorrow.’”

It was supposed to be a field trip day. Since Jake didn’t want to miss out on the fun, he begged to go to school. She eventually relented and let him go, only because he swore he wouldn’t physically be in the school at any point during the day. But Jake did in fact end up inside the building on May 20 — the same day Dann shot at the second-grade class. He said:

“The next day — May 20, 1988 — a woman walks into my elementary school through the door that my class was in. 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. A woman walked into the school wearing a robe and nothing underneath.”

If Jake had seen the woman wearing a robe walk into the classroom, knowing himself, the filmmaker said he “would have commented” on it and made the situation worse:

“I would have said something. I would have tried to show off, I would have tried to get laughs. There’s no question. The room was empty, she walked through, walked down the hall, walked into another room, shot seven kids, killed one of them. True story.”


Ever since the shooting, Jake has questioned his mom about what made her feel like she needed to keep him home from school. However, she never could give him a straight answer. All the momma knew at the time was that her “gut” was telling her he needed to be far away from the school or else he’d never come home again:

“My mom cannot explain why she did not want me to go to school.”

Incredibly chilling. We’re glad Jake ended up being OK. And our heart breaks for the other victims who were hurt and killed during this tragedy. You can watch a clip from the podcast episode (below):


Do you believe in intuition? ????????

♬ original sound – “DOPE AS USUAL”

Reactions? Let us know in the comments below.

If you’re experiencing emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence, you can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or visit their website at for more resources.

[Image via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube]

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Jan 19, 2024 15:10pm PDT