Wauwatosa Wiki

Leonard D. McDowell was a former student at Wauwatosa West High School and the convicted murderer of former associate principal Dale Breitlow.

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Incident at West[]

McDowell, 21 at the time of the shooting, had been a student at Wauwatosa West. According to witness accounts, McDowell met Dale Breitlow in a hallway at the school and shot him three times, the Milwaukee Sentinel reported. After the shooting, police found McDowell hiding in shrubbery outside his house. Inside, they found notes indicating he had been planning the attack, the Sentinel reported.


Contact from jay[]

In an effort to understand McDowell's actions, Jay Breitlow said he sent a letter to him in prison, which is published in the book.

"I'm not mad at you," Breitlow said he wrote. "I just want to know, because I want to help people, what's going on in your life and what your thought process is."

Breitlow said McDowell's return letter seemed schizophrenic. In court, medical experts said McDowell had several mental health issues, including paranoid schizophrenia, personality disorder, and Tourette's syndrome.

"He seemed grateful for me writing and asked not to write again," Breitlow said.

Breitlow said he was glad they had the exchange.

"I think if I saw him walking down the street, he wouldn't harm me," Breitlow said. "And I wouldn't harm him either, which at one point would have been hard to say."


  • December 1, 1993: Wauwatosa West High School