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San Diego County Police Department Holds News Conference On Santee School Shooting

Aired March 6, 2001 - 1:05 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: That news conference is beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (JOINED IN PROGRESS) ... O-L-E-N -- as in Nancy -- D -- as in dog -- E-R.

Sheriff Kolender?


This has been a difficult time for everyone. We are here this morning to fill you in on the evidence as to where we are on and where we are going.

But I think it's important that you understand the feelings of the people that have been involved. We are very concerned about the welfare of the families, the families of those who are deceased, the families of those who are wounded, the people who work at the school, the students, the teachers, the counselors, the principal.

We were extremely proud of the way in which the school district handled this, from the superintendent who you will hear from in a minute, to the principal to everyone else involved in the school. And extremely proud of the fire department and all the various law enforcement agencies that handled this very, very difficult situation, I think, in a very professional manner, whether it be the sheriff's department, La Mesa, El Cajon, federal government, state government, CHP, outstanding.

And we are very concerned for their welfare, also. And we will see to it that all of the folks in law enforcements, all of the folks that were involved will have counseling available. And we will do our best to see to it that this does not have a very negative effect on all of their lives.

If you have ever been through anything like this, and you would understand what this does to the people who are a part of it. I was at the school in San Carlos when Ben Spencer (ph), if you've been around at all, decided that it was a black Monday and killed the principal and the custodian. And then at San Ysidro, at the massacre, and the pain in people involved there, the parents, children. That was just -- it was horrible.

And this is the same kind of thing. But I do believe that had it not been for the conduct and professionalism of these folks involved, that what happened yesterday would have even been worse. As bad as it was, it had the potential for being worse than it was. So I think they all deserve a lot of credit for maintaining the professionalism under some very trying circumstances. And they did just an outstanding job.

Tomorrow morning -- well, first of all, at seven o'clock this morning, we -- when it -- we started again the collection of evidence that -- and we have included and completed the evidence and identification. And tomorrow morning, very early, we will be presenting the entire case to the office of the district attorney.

Tomorrow, the school will be open. Today, there are deputy sheriffs at all of the high school and middle schools within this district, to be of any kind of service that would be needed.

To give you a more in-depth explanation of where we are with the evidence, I'm going to ask Lieutenant Jerry Lewis, who is in charge of homicide detail, to give you the particulars that I know you're interested in -- Jerry.

JERRY LEWIS, SAN DIEGO CO. SHERIFF'S DEPT.: Good morning. My name is Jerry Lewis. I'm the homicide lieutenant with the sheriff's department. I will go over some of the details that we have found since our last briefing at 5:00 p.m. yesterday.

First, I will talk about the weapon. The weapon was recovered in the boys' bathroom in building 200. Some of you have the maps. And this map on the wall up there is being pointed out, building 200, where the bathroom is. That's where the weapon was recovered. The weapon is described as a .22 long rifle revolver. The name brand is Arminius: a-r-m-i-n-i-u-s.

When our detectives recovered the weapon, the weapon was fully loaded with eight rounds and the hammer was cocked. Based on that information, it is our belief that the quick response and the quick actions of the deputy sheriffs and the off-duty San Diego police officer, by their quick actions and response, they were able to present further individuals from being shot.

The suspect in this case, the 15-year-old white male juvenile, did the shooting from just inside the bathroom. And, at one point, information we have and evidence points that he walked outside the bathroom. Today, when we went back in there after lights, we were able to find strike marks on building 307 near classrooms 306 and 307. We also find -- found strike marks from the rounds on the library site near building 300.

We also find at least one strike mark from around on the backside of the administrative building. Most of the students were shot, basically, as they were running by the hallway leading down from the library to the administrative building. One of the deceased victims was shot in the bathroom. He was one of the victims that was transported to the hospital and was pronounced at the hospital.

The second victim was shot just outside the bathroom. He was able to make his way around building 300. And he was found laying on the grass between building 300 and 400. The victim in the bathroom had been shot in the back of the head. And the victim that we found laying between building 300 and 400 had been shot in the back.

We found holes in the food cart that was parked somewhere near the library. We have had holes that we have found in the cage around the coke machine, which is also located in that same general area. We have found many backpacks -- students who discarded their backpacks -- laying in various areas around building 200 between there and the courtyard. Some of those backpacks had holes in them.

We have interviewed some of the victims. We will match up the backpacks with other students. And if we have not interviewed them, we will interview them. The -- again, I can't emphasize that, because of the quick response of Deputy Perez, Deputy Smith and Robert Clark, the off-duty San Diego police officer, I just can't emphasize enough their quick response, we believe, saved many, many more victims from being shot.

The information we have from the evidence and the witnesses: The suspect was firing randomly at anybody who was going by -- anybody. Any student who went by there within his range, he was shooting at them. At this time, this is all I have to add. I will be available for questions when the rest of the panel gets through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next we would like to call, from the Grossmont Union School District, Granger Ward. Granger is the superintendent of the school district.

GRANGER WARD, GROSSMONT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: I once again would like to thank the amazingly quick response of law enforcement. They're the reasons that this tragedy was not even greater than it is.

The off-duty officer from San Diego Police Department, who was registering own kid at school, provided invaluable help, as well as the sheriff's deputies who responded. I also want to thank the staff at Santana High School, who, in the mist of a very chaotic situation, worked to get as many kids as possible into classrooms out of the line of fire.

The staff who were hit, including a campus supervisor -- who I am told was struck three times -- those folks did a heroic job, all of them, in trying to lessen the tragedy that we're facing now. As part of our next steps, the school district has been involved since yesterday afternoon in intensive counseling support for staff, for students and for parents.

We were able to use facilities in our community that opened the doors to our parents and students. I have just come from a session where all of the staff at Santana High School have been getting debriefed and being provided counseling support using the techniques that, unfortunately, have been used at incidents such as Columbine, such as the incident in Oklahoma City, where we can provide support for our adult staff and begin the healing process with them, as well as the support we will be providing for students beginning tomorrow. As the sheriff mentioned, school will be open tomorrow at Santana High School. We will begin school at 9:25 a.m., which is block two, so their second period. Tomorrow will be a day devoted to providing support to our students. We have received and accepted support from the county government and Office of Mental Health -- who has been working with our counselors -- Red Cross, both from this county and from Orange County.

The Federal Department of Education has offered, and we have accepted support of counselors who are coming into our district today to provide support for our staff and students tomorrow. We will begin the process of bringing our community back together, the healing process. We will never -- can never forget this situation, this incident. But we need to heal.

We need to bring back the ties that have been broken in this community by this tragic event. The campus will be open this afternoon for those of you who wish to go on to the campus. It will be open at approximately 3:30 p.m. for you to view the campus. I want to remind members of the press that it is our policy in the district that, when we have school, we don't have members of the press on campus.

So beginning tomorrow morning, when students are in school, we will not allow access on school grounds. But we will make the grounds available this afternoon for those of you who wish to be there. Again, thanks to all of the support, the emergency medical services. There are a lot of heroes, many of whom are not going to be named, but who were out there doing an incredible job yesterday afternoon to save as many kids as possible -- and staff.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also with us this morning, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, county of San Diego.


As the county supervisor that represents the entire east county area, east county is in mourning today, in deep morning. It's a time for all of us to reach out our collective arms and put them around all of the students, the families, and the faculty at Santana High School. They need us. They need to know we're there. We need to know we care, and all the support that they need is there for them.

I want to once, again, take the opportunity to applaud the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for their very prompt response. As it was already stated, this could have been a lot worse. The deputies were there in a moment's notice, and what could have been chaos was calmness, orderliness, and what I've observed from the entire law enforcement team -- the paramedic, all of those who responded -- was of the highest professional that you will ever see anywhere at any time. And I thank you for that.

As I was doing a lot of thinking, and as I've talked and seen a lot of people, I had questions asked to me what did the county of San Diego do after Columbine? What did we do? Did you do anything? Yes, we did. We've been doing quite a bit in the county of San Diego, and I'm proud to say that, after Columbine, we had anti-violence training for thousands of students, working with the Grossmont Union High School District. And over the past several years, the board of supervisors has put virtually millions and millions of dollars into after-school programs. We've worked with the presiding judge of the juvenile court, our probation officer, with programs, frankly, that have received national recognition. The sheriff's has been a part of that too, and the district attorney -- trying particularly to turn the lives around of those children that we have classified as at-risk students.

But it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to prevent this tragedy. And I, frankly, don't know if anything could have prevented it. I have heard that there were those who were told that this young man was going to do this. I guess the question to all of us: Had one of those individuals told the authorities would it have made a difference? None of us will ever know. We'll never know.

But all of the programs, all of the anti-violence training -- the one most crucial violence prevention is a strong family, a strong family. We can have all the programs in the world, all the support from all the government agencies, which we've tried to do in this county, but there's nothing that takes the place of a strong family, which is the most crucial violence prevention that we have in our community.

And it's a time now not only to reach out to those who are most in need, but also to reach out in particular to the students, and to the parents in our community. We have more troubled youngsters out there. We have more parents out there that need help. It's up to all of us to put our heads together over the next weeks and months and see can we do better? Are there some other things that we can do to make it more inviting for those students to step forward and say, I need help, I've got a problem, or for a parent to step forward and say, I need help -- I'm not as good a parent as I could be, and I need help.

Because you know what? There are the resources out there to help. All they have to do is ask. And we need to make sure in this community that they ask and they feel like it's easy to ask that question, to help.

We must all of us -- we all share the responsibility for what happened here. We must listen to our kids. We must listen deeper to our kids and pay more attention, and when our kids tell us things, to act upon them. And as parents and all of us as adults in the community, spend time with our kids. We can have all the programs -- and we know we can -- we have them in this county, to help -- but it's not the programs that are going to make the difference. It's one individual taking the interest in the life of a child that is ultimately going to make that difference.

So I put a call out today: Take the hand of a child and show them the way. It may be a child who is troubled, that needs that hand more than another, but I can tell you all children need us as adults. This is a great community. East county is a special place. And we've seen people come together in the city of Santee for Santana High School students like I've seen at no other time.

It's the greatness of these students: By and large, the students at Santana High School -- they're responsible, they're bright, and they're good students.

We'll get through this, and we will be stronger. We will be stronger. But right now let's reach out to those kids and make a special effort to do that.

And I thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Also with us this morning is the mayor of the city of Santee, Randy Voepoel. That's V, as in Victor; O; E; P, as in Paul; O; E; L -- Randy.

MAYOR RANDY VOEPOEL, SANTEE, CALIFORNIA: Today in our town, we're grieving. Grief and mourning is God's gift to start healing. And I want you all to know that Santee is a city of brave hearts. We're heart to heart in this town. And what we're doing today is simply going one step in front of the other, to keep walking and keep going.

They say that time heals wounds, but that also means that over a period of time, wounds open up again, so I must tell you that the city and all of our resources, all these folks here that are helping us, what we're doing is -- with all due respect to the media and everyone watching -- when the lights go out, and the media disappears, we'll still be here.

So I'm asking people to keep us in thoughts and prayers. Call us up six months from now. Say, Santee, can we give you a hand? Call us up a year from now: Do you need some help? Because six months or a year from now is one of my great concerns -- that when one of our kids or parents goes to sleep, before they close their eyes at night, and when you're thinking about what happened yesterday, that they know they're not alone, they know that we care that there are still people that they can talk to. Pick up the phone and talk.

So I thank everyone for this incredible amount of help that we've received today. And I'm asking you to keep us in mind for six months and a year from now, three years from now. We'll be working, we'll be working hard.

Thank you.

IDENTIFIED MALE: Also the fire chief of the city of Santee, Bob Pfohl, P-F-O-H-L -- the paramedics.

Yes, hello.

FIRE CHIEF BOB PFOHL, SANTEE, CALIFORNIA: First off, on behalf of the -- all the men and women of the Santee Fire Department, deepest sympathies go out to the families affected. I'll give you a brief recap of the emergency medical operation. Of course, that was the highest priority at the very beginning of the incident -- was to find all injured victims, triage them, and get them transported to area hospitals as quickly as possible.

And I am extremely proud of all the firefighters, paramedics and EMTs that performed. They did an outstanding job. I would also like to thank the sheriff department. They did an outstanding job of making our operation happen as quickly as possible, getting to victims, allowing us to transport them to our triage area.

What made this situation a little bit unique from an emergency medical standpoint was we had a total of 19 patient contacts. Six of those parents were in five offsite locations and we didn't know about them until different stages of the incident.

We are were able to identify what we thought to be five critical patients. We were able to get them to the triage area and get them to area hospitals within 45 minutes, which, under those condition, in my estimation, is excellent. And I'm, again, very, very proud of the performance of all the first responders.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we'd like to open up questions for you and for any of our principals.

QUESTION: Mr. Ward...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doug, we'll start with Doug.

QUESTION: I don't know who this is -- probably Granger. Again, I don't really know if anyone can answer this, but I think Granger can come closest.

Granger, we had a couple of calls to the station this morning saying that this young man, the suspect in the shootings, had earlier that morning, yesterday morning, attended an anger or aggression management counseling session. Do you know anything about that? Does anyone know anything about that? If so, was it a district- or a school-sponsored program?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question was, the suspect in the case allegedly had attended classes in anger management that same morning, true or false?

WARD: To my knowledge, that is not accurate. That's the first that I'm hearing that information. My belief was that that was his first time on campus that morning. But, again, there's a lot of information that we need to sift through.

QUESTION: Could it have been an off-campus program? Does it have any district connections at all?

WARD: That certainly is possible, but that's the first time that I'm hearing that. I do not believe that it was a district-related program, if there was a program at all.

QUESTION: Do you have any knowledge whether he was oriented toward (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

WARD: I do not at this point.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, are we looking at...

QUESTION: Yes, for Mr. Ward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang on a second. Yes.


WARD: Yes sir.

QUESTION: I talked to a few parents this morning and they were very upset that -- about what they heard about these two kids or these three children that knew this might be happening. And the concern was their safety and what the school district's going to do as far as taking any action against them. What can you tell us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question was, other students who had had contact with the suspect knowing of his intentions?

WARD: Again, we have allegations that there were students and an adult who had prior information. I believe it is not in the best interest of those three, at least at this point, who allegedly had information to be on the campus tomorrow. So we are taking steps to do intervention. They will not be on campus. We need to determine if, in fact, those reports are accurate and to follow up with that.

QUESTION: How about -- what is the district going to do if they find out they are?

WARD: I think we're going to take this one step at a time and determine that. We probably would then need to look at legal counsel and what is appropriate in this circumstance. And I think it is too soon for me to be able to give you a definitive answer on that. If, in fact, they did know this and did not respond or did not contact, I certainly have concerns. Any parent would have concerns. And I believe we -- it is imperative that we as a district address that. I cannot give you the exact action we will take at this point.

QUESTION: Lieutenant...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had a question here?

QUESTION: Yes, Lieutenant Lewis.

With all of these allegations that other people knew, that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are you looking at charging these other people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question was about allegations of knowledge prior to the incident. LEWIS: The adult -- I don't believe we have interviewed the adult in any manner at this point. The two juveniles in question, we have interviewed them. They were released. All the information that we've received from all witnesses in this case will be presented to the district attorney's office. We will be presenting the case to the district attorney's office early tomorrow morning. Statements made by those juveniles will be included in that report.

QUESTION: Did they say they knew about it?

LEWIS: I cannot go into what they said at this time.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, talk about how many shots were fired. We're getting all these different reports how many times he reloaded and such.

LEWIS: It's our understanding, from evidence we found at the scene, from statements from witnesses and victims, the suspect reloaded approximately four times. We believe the suspect fired approximately 30 rounds. We are still verifying the rounds right now. Again, the weapon had eight rounds in it when we found it and the hammer was cocked.

QUESTION: In regards...

LEWIS: We believe -- we have information to believe that the suspect may have taken in as many as 40 rounds.

QUESTION: Jerry, talk a little bit more about the gun cabinet and whether it was secured and the father's possible culpability in this.

LEWIS: At this particular point, we have interviewed the father on a couple occasions. The father was cooperative with us. The father has verified that the weapon was in his gun cabinet in his residence, and that gun cabinet was secured by a lock and key.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, just so we're clear, you mentioned that one victim in the bathroom was shot in the back of the head.

LEWIS: Correct.

QUESTION: Are you also saying that apparently that, too, is indiscriminate, or is there any information that that was an execution?

LEWIS: At this particular point we don't have any reason to believe it was an execution. We still believe that it's a random shooting. This was an angry young man for reasons unknown to us, started firing indiscriminately, first at two individuals who happened to be in the bathroom, and then at all students and staff who passed by the outside of that bathroom door.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, did the father say why he didn't get the gun back? Can you go into the conversation about if he knew the gun was missing, why didn't he confront his son? Or did he confront his son, or can you go into that?

LEWIS: I do not know that.

QUESTION: Was that even brought up in the questioning of the father of the son?

LEWIS: I do not know the answer to that question at this time.

QUESTION: Is the father facing any criminal charges? Could he?

LEWIS: I don't know. That will be up to the district attorney.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, could you paint the attitude of the person you have in custody now? What's he like? Have you interviewed him?

LEWIS: From victims and witnesses at the scene, they all said he was mad at something. They don't know if he was mad at the school, at students, mad at life, mad at home. He was an angry young man. I cannot comment on what his statements to us were. I will say that we did interview him. And the only thing I can say is he was cooperative with us.

QUESTION: Jerry, a number of these kids seem to be varsity athletes. Is there any angle there? because I know at Columbine, for example -- and I hate to compare the two -- a lot of the targets were varsity athletes. So were some of these kids. Is that just coincidence?

LEWIS: We have no connection at this time that he was targeting any group -- any specific group.

QUESTION: What about...

LEWIS: Whoever happened to be running in front of the bathroom, particularly those two kids who were in the bath room.

QUESTION: Any options besides prosecuting under Prop 21? And what happens under Prop 21 if he's found to be mentally unstable?

LEWIS: That is a question I cannot answer. That would be more appropriately addressed to the district attorney.

QUESTION: What type of weapon was the child using? What type of -- the gun, the handgun?

LEWIS: I gave that earlier. I will repeat the weapon. It's a .22 longrifle revolver, had eight rounds with the hammer cocked. The type of weapon is an Arminius, A-R-M-I-N-I-U-S.


QUESTION: ... or was he doing this by hand?

LEWIS: At this particular time, we have not found any speed loader in or around the scene. QUESTION: Lieutenant, do you have any information that at least one other student might have been specifically warned by the suspect to stay away from school yesterday and in fact did stay away from school on the basis of that warning?

LEWIS: We had well over 50 detectives from various agencies doing interviews. I cannot tell you what every interview led to, so I cannot answer that question. I do not know the answer.

QUESTION: What about...

QUESTION: Lieutenant, are you aware of any legal statutes that spell out the culpability of someone who doesn't report a crime that may happen?

LEWIS: At this particular point I have not researched that. I'm sure my staff and myself and the sheriff's legal attorneys will be researching that.

QUESTION: I know you're not going to go too far with this. What about remorse from the suspect? Has he had any remorse at all in your comments, interviews today?

LEWIS: I was not involved in the interview. It's my understanding, from what little information that I did get, that there was no remorse.

QUESTION: Did he ever talk about going to Mexico after his -- his rage? From what we understand when we talked to some of the students who said that he was going to be planning a trip to Mexico after he got done doing something -- did he ever talk about going south of the border?

LEWIS: At this particular time, I am sure some of our interviewers, the detectives have interviewed the individual who maybe had given that you information. But I don't have personal knowledge of that information.

QUESTION: Did you find anything in the home that was unusual: any drugs, any posters, any books, anything that might...

LEWIS: I can't comment on evidence we obtained from the house.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Was the gun in his hand, on the floor (OFF- MIKE)

LEWIS: The two -- the officers who were involved in the arrest yesterday made the statement that the suspect was inside the bathroom with a hand -- the weapon in his hands. They drew down on him, ordered him to drop the weapon. He did drop the weapon. He got on his knees. That's when they took him into custody, handcuffed him and took him from the scene.

QUESTION: What about previous contact with this boy? We are getting reports that the sheriff's department and the local police department had at least one, possibly two run-ins with him in the last few weeks, couple months.

LEWIS: I don't have any confirmation on that yet. That is part of our process for investigation, to see if there is any criminal history.

QUESTION: Can you just describe the weapon a little more clearly? Was it is a pistol-type handgun or a rifle? The description given by the officer yesterday made it sound like a pistol. I think it was described as a long rifle revolver.

LEWIS: The weapon that we have in evidence is a .22-caliber long rifle revolver.


LEWIS: Revolver.

QUESTION: I'm sorry?

LEWIS: It's a revolver -- a handgun

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) any drugs?

LEWIS: I cannot comment on that.


LEWIS: I don't know at this time, Sheriff.

QUESTION: But it's a revolver with a normal -- longer than a normal barrel. It's a longer rifle barrel.

KOLENDER: No, no, no.

LEWIS: No, no.

KOLENDER: It's a pistol. And, I mean, the barrels go from 2 inches, 4 inches to 9 inches, if it's a real old one. It depends.

QUESTION: But it's a pistol, you're saying.

KOLENDER: Yes, it's a pistol, a revolver. You cock it.

QUESTION: What's normally known as a long-nose .22. Is that what it is?

KOLENDER: A .22 revolver, folks.



KOLENDER: Lieutenant, I am not a weapon's expert.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) one of his friends knew that he had the gun or (OFF-MIKE) LEWIS: As I said, we have interviewed two children who may have had prior knowledge about this. I cannot comment exactly what they said. I don't know everything they said. Again, that information will be presented in our report to the district attorney's office.

KOLENDER: I think it's important you understand that the evidence in this case will not be given to you this morning. It will be given to the district attorney tomorrow morning. We are collecting the evidence. So the answers to our questions will not be answers that are -- that will be a part of the case that will be presented by district attorney tomorrow morning.

QUESTION: In your briefing, Lieutenant Lewis, you said that several of the backpacks had bullet holes -- bullets in them? I mean, is that what you're...

LEWIS: Holes in them.

QUESTION: Holes in them. Are you saying that the kids who were carrying backpacks, their lives may have been saved? I mean, or are these situations where they ...

LEWIS: I'm saying that we found multiple backpacks strewn throughout the area where this building was located. Some of them have holes in the backpacks. You can deduce whatever you want. I don't know. All I'm saying is, we will match up the kids with the backpacks, see how many of them were victims. If we have not interviewed them, we will interview them.


QUESTION: Lieutenant, would the speed with which he reloaded indicate that he was pretty knowledgeable about firearms?

LEWIS: I don't know if you can have a correlation there.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, what about the deputy that is normally assigned to the high school? Have we found out the status of that deputy, if one was assigned, if that the deputy was there that day and where, or why not?

LEWIS: It's my understanding that the deputy who is assigned to that school is also assigned to other schools. He -- there was a deputy earlier on campus having a meeting with a teacher. That was not the deputy who is normally assigned to that school. The deputy who is assigned to that school happened to be at another school in the district at that time.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) they live together. Is that all we know?

LEWIS: You are going to have to repeat the question.

QUESTION: Can you expound on the father's relationship with the... LEWIS: At this point, all we know is the son lived with the father at the address where we served the search warrant.

QUESTION: Lieutenant, I know that you have described where the backpacks were (INAUDIBLE) Can you give us kind of the where the suspect was -- like, in the rest room, walked out -- on that map so that we can actually see how far up he went towards the library in the quad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bathroom -- if you have maps out there -- the front of the school was here. This is Magnolia Avenue. And the area where the news trucks were all parked out front are down here. This is the main office. The Boys' bathroom in 200 building is approximately right here. And I believe most of you have copies of the map. And that will explain it. The door, I think, is on this end.

Is that is right, Jerry?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The door is here. Most of the backpacks, the victims and the activity occurs here and here and there, in this area of the quad.

QUESTION: Sheriff, after Columbine, there was a videotape from the internal security system that was made available to law enforcement around the country. Did your department get that from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) County in Colorado, that videotape? And, if not, either way, after Columbine, did you -- were there any changes made to your tactical philosophies or practices in terms of the events like this?

KOLENDER: We have -- we have made plans for various kinds of disasters and situations like this. And, yes, we have in fact looked at our schools and the security of the schools. And that's why you see some of the things that you did see.

QUESTION: But was Columbine -- the sheriff's department in Colorado has been criticized for not entering the school quickly enough. Did that -- has that criticism or did that event affect your department's handling of this kind of situation? Or have you always been -- has nothing changed since Columbine or has there has been no reason for such?

KOLENDER: We have responded as quickly as we could to every incident. And Columbine had no bearing on that. It's a different situation, a different kind of a community, different distances, different traffic, all kinds of reasons and problems that they had that, thank God, we did not have.

QUESTION: Sheriff, do you think that a metal detector might have deterred or prevented this?

KOLENDER: You know, I don't know. But I got -- I mean, I -- metal detectors at schools remind me of bars on windows. I sure don't like them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) of the boy's father (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we know the occupation of the suspect's -- we do not.

KOLENDER: No, we do not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the superintendent has a correction.

WARD: Campus will be available at 5:00 p.m. this evening, not 3:30, not 3:30.


QUESTION: There's no light.

WARD: OK, I understand. The campus will be available at 5:00 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't get dark until 6:00 p.m.


QUESTION: Where should the cameras be at 5:00 on campus?

WARD: Probably looking at folks right at the main entrance. And then we can open that up at that point for access.

QUESTION: So where the memorial is now?

WARD: I believe so. I think that would be the best spot.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) came in late. School is going to be held tomorrow.


WARD: Yes.

KOLENDER: School is open at 9:25 a.m. tomorrow.

QUESTION: Is there some significance to that, on why you are starting at 9:25?

WARD: Yes, there is. The school has two starting times. We want to make sure that we start with all the students at the same time. So we went to the later time, which is 9:25.

QUESTION: So it has no bearing on the events...

WARD: That is correct. It has a bearing on making sure we have all of our kids at school at the same time and begin the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you all very much.



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