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LAGUNA BEACH : Lovelorn Man Shoots Rifle at School in Night, Police Say

October 20, 1995|TINA NGUYEN

A 20-year-old man despondent over a romantic breakup sprayed bullets from an assault rifle outside of Laguna Beach High School early Thursday to "let off steam," police said.

Christian Anthony Pannell of Laguna Beach told police that he had carried a rifle to the school's football field just after midnight with the intent to kill himself, Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Bob Rahaeuser said.

"I think he went to the field so that the rounds could not injure anyone," Rahaeuser said.

Pannell suddenly had a change of heart, he said, and proceeded toward the school where he fired 20 rounds at outside classroom walls.

"Luckily it was 12 o'clock midnight and not 12 noon," Rahaeuser said. "But there's no indication that he wanted to harm anyone, and this is definitely not gang related."

After police received 40 emergency calls from startled residents, officers arrived at the high school where they saw Pannell running across a football field. He was arrested at the bottom of a steep hill on suspicion of possessing a firearm on a campus, shooting at an unoccupied building and vandalism. He was being held at Orange County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $70,000 bail.

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