1965 Highway 101 sniper attack

Deaths 4 (including the perpetrator)
Location Orcutt, California, United States
Injured 10
Date April 25, 1965
Perpetrator Michael Andrew Clark


Early on the Sunday morning of April 25, 1965, 16-year-old Michael Andrew Clark opened fire on cars traveling along U.S. Highway 101 just south of Orcutt, California from a nearby hilltop. Three people were killed and ten were wounded before Clark committed suicide upon arrival of police.


Late on the night of April 24, 1965, Michael Andrew Clark, who lived in Long Beach, California, left home in his parents' car, without their permission. In the back of the car, he had a Swedish Mauser military rifle equipped with telescopic sight and a pistol he had removed from his father's locked gun safe along with a large quantity of ammunition. Early the next Sunday morning, he climbed to the top of a hill overlooking a stretch of Highway 101 near Orcutt. As the sun came up, Clark began shooting at automobiles driving down the 101 highway.

Two were killed and six more were wounded as the shooting continued for hours before Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office deputies rushed the hill and Clark committed suicide as they closed in. A five-year-old-boy wounded in the head died a day later bringing the total to three dead for the rampage.

Reportedly the two men killed at the scene of the shooting were attempting to assist others who were trapped in a vehicle which had been hit by the gunfire.


A lawsuit was eventually brought to the courts by victims William, Lucille, and Kim Reida, complaining that parents Forest and Joyce Clark were negligent in two counts: "failure of the Clarks to train, control, and supervise son Michael" and also, "failure of Forest Clark to keep the rifle out of Michael’s hands." The case was decided in favor of the Clarks and generally upheld on appeal, although the appeals court found negligence on the part of father Forest Clark for not adequately securing the weapons.


  • Santa Maria Times, April 26, 1965
  • Los Angeles Times, April 26, 1965 "SNIPER KILLS 2"
  • Ovid Demaris, America the Violent, Penguin Books, 1971, p. 344
  • Los Angeles Times, April 26, 1965 "Highway Sniper Dies After Killing Two, Wounding Six"
  • Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1965 "Michael Andrew Clark, 16, took his own life after killing two passers by and fatally wounding a third with a high-powered rifle on Highway 101 near here April 25, a coroner's jury ruled Thursday."
  • Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1965 "Highway Sniper's Bullet Proves Fatal to Boy, 5"
  • Los Angeles Times, April 28, 1965, Part II, p. 1; "Both men who were killed by a teen-age sniper on U.S. 101 may have been trying to aid victims in another auto, it was disclosed Tuesday."
  • Reida v. Lund 18 Cal.App.3d 698