Suspect had talked about shooting at school
Two killed, 13 wounded at San Diego-area high school
SANTEE, California (CNN) -- A 15-year-old freshman at a San Diego-area high school who had talked about taking a weapon to school killed two schoolmates and wounded 13 others Monday, police and witnesses said.
One of the victims, Brian Zuchor, 14, was found dead at the school. Randy Gordon, 15, died at nearby Grossmont Hospital, spokeswoman Eileen Cornish said.
Eleven other students and two adults were wounded.
The shooting occurred about 9:20 a.m. Monday (12:20 p.m. EST) at Santana High School in Santee, California, about 10 miles northeast of San Diego.
Authorities said the suspect will be arraigned Wednesday; the charges will include murder, assault and assault with a deadly weapon.
Student John Schardt said the freshman boy arrested in the shooting was smiling when he allegedly emerged from a restroom in the school's social sciences building with a gun. (see video)
"He was looking around, smiling, with his weapon. He fired two more shots and went back in," Schardt said. He said authorities with guns drawn arrested the suspect in the bathroom.
"He had an evil kind of sadistic demeanor to him," Schardt said.
Authorities said the alleged gunman reloaded his .22-caliber revolver at least once.
Friends said the boy arrested in the killings had talked about taking a gun to school in recent days, but no one took him seriously.
Several fellow students told CNN affiliate KGTV the youth arrested had threatened over the weekend to shoot someone at the school.
"The whole weekend he was talking about it," Josh Stevens said, "And me and my friends were like, 'You're not serious, are you?' And he says, 'I'm just joking.' And then he asked us if we want to do it with him.
"And we were all, 'You're joking.' He was like, 'I am, I'm just messing around,' " said Stevens, who was questioned by authorities after giving that account to KGTV.
Chris Reynolds , Stevens' mother's boyfriend, said he had heard the boy and other friends "talking about it and kind of like joking about it."
"Sometimes I kind of took them seriously, the way they were talking, and then other times it seemed like they were just joking because these kids like to joke a lot," Reynolds said.
"I kind of feel like I'm to blame for some of this because I could have done something," Reynolds added. "And I've had kids before I've known get hit by drunk drivers and things like that, and here's where I could have done something to prevent it."
Schardt said he photographed the incident and another student videotaped the carnage -- material that has since been confiscated by authorities. California law means the 15-year-old suspect is likely to be charged as an adult, San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst said.
After police officers handcuffed the suspect in the bathroom, they were talking to authorities about whether there was another shooter.
"The young man on the ground turned to me and looked around and said, 'It's only me,'" said Deputy Ali Perez.
But officers found two victims back by the restroom stalls.
"One was conscious and talking and was concerned that he was shot," recalled Robert Clark, an off-duty San Diego police officer who had been at the school to register his daughter. "Then there was another student who was unresponsive and I don't know what his condition is at this point. We assisted with first aid and CPR."
Perez said as he was working his way toward the suspect, he saw three school staffers behind a cart and ordered them to leave. He said that he didn't know one of the staffers -- a man -- had been wounded until he saw him trying to crawl from the room.
"This is my worst nightmare," said Karen Degischer, principal of Santana High School. "I'm very concerned about the students. I'm very concerned about their families right now, and I'm concerned about my staff."
Pfingst said investigators are now putting together the case and are interviewing "literally hundreds, hundreds of witnesses."
Santana High School will be closed Tuesday and counselors will be available at a nearby church, Degaschir said.
Neither Degaschir nor San Diego County Sheriff William Kolender would comment on why the boy turned on his classmates.
"We don't know the motive, so we don't know whether it was random or not," Kolender said.
The school has about 1,900 students and 80 faculty and staff. One of the wounded was a sheriff's deputy assigned to the school, Sheriff's Department spokesman Ron Reina said.
"Our SWAT team is still going through and clearing the campus looking for any additional victims or suspects," San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokesman Pete Carillo said Monday afternoon. But Kolender said there was no other gunman "to our knowledge at this point."
Students were quickly evacuated to a parking lot across the street from the school, police said. Schardt described the scene as "complete chaos. Everyone scrambled."
California Gov. Gray Davis said he was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the shootings. Davis' wife Sharon is a Santana High School graduate.
In Washington, President Bush offered his condolences "to the teachers and the children whose lives have been turned upside-down right now."
Bush called the shooting "a disgraceful act of cowardice," adding, "When America teaches our children right from wrong and teaches values that respect life in our country, we'll be better off."
But, he said, "First things are first. And our prayers go out to the families that lost a child today."
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said local law enforcement officials have asked them to assist with the investigation.
Detroit high school shooting injures 3
Santana High School
|Back to the top|