Seven hurt in shooting at California school
March 22, 2001 Web posted at: 6:24 p.m. EST (2324 GMT)
EL CAJON, California – At least seven people were hurt Thursday at a suburban
San Diego high school six miles from where another school shooting occurred
earlier this month.
One adult and three students were among the injured, said Capt. Bill McClure of
the El Cajon Police Department.
A school resource officer engaged the suspect in a running gun battle,
A suspect is in custody with gunshot wounds, McClure said. “There’s no knowledge
of any life-threatening injuries at this time,” he said.
One victim is a teen-age boy who suffered shotgun pellets to the upper chest.
His injuries are considered serious.
Both were taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital, authorities said.
The alleged gunman is said to be an 18-year-old male who suffered gunshot wounds
to the mouth and the buttocks during an exchange of gunfire with police.
The suspected gunman is undergoing surgery, but his wounds were not thought to
be life-threatening, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Two adults had minor injuries, McClure said.
It was not clear whether the suspect is a student at Granite Hills High School,
the site of the shootings.
“He just got out of the car, he got down like in a sniper position and just
started opening fire,” a student told a reporter. “It seemed to be a shotgun.”
At least eight shots were fired, he said. “One of them came at least two inches
away from my head. If I wouldn’t have ducked down, I would have been shot. It’s
just kind of a blur from there.”
Another student heard the gunfire and took off running.
“It sounded like an explosion, like in a chemistry class or something,” student
Ryan Carrillo told KGTV of San Diego.
Carrillo, a sophomore, heard the gunshotsas he walked to a bathroom near the
office of the school, which has 2,900 students. He fled to a nearby park where
weeping students gathered to hug and talk. Parents ran about, frantically
searching for their children.
Carrillo said he heard the shots at 12:54 p.m.
At about the same time, the El Cajon Police Department received an “officer
needs help” call, said Dave Cook, a police dispatcher. He said two deputies were
at the school for an unrelated reason.
Witnesses told KFMB-TV that a suspect, armed with a shotgun and handgun, was
wrestled to the ground by police. The station said officers were searching for
possibly a second suspect.
Surrounding streets were closed and students streamed from the school and walked
to a nearby grade school, where they were to be picked up by their parents.
“There’s parents all over the place, everybody’s on the cell phones,” said one
man at the scene. “One mother was standing here talking with her daughter, who’s
actually in one of the classrooms, talking to her on the cell phone.”
Police told CNN that authorities were urging parents not to travel to the school
in an attempt to retrieve their children.
A staging area near the school was being set up at a nearby elementary school
where parents and children could reunite, Cook said.
The shootings occurred just over a week after a forum on school safety was held,
inspired by the March 5 shootings at Santana High School in nearby Santee.
Granite Hills High School is a few miles south of Santee, where two people died
and 13 were wounded.
In the Santee shooting, Charles Andrew “Andy” Williams is charged with 28
felonies, including two counts of murder. Investigators say in court documents
that Williams carefully planned the March 5 shooting but had no specific target.
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