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California and the West

Youth Planned to Kill Himself After School Rampage, Police Say

March 14, 2001|KEN ELLINGWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — The teenager suspected in last week's fatal shooting rampage at a Santee high school told investigators he planned to kill himself afterward but that officers arrived before he could do so, according to a court document.

During questioning after the campus shooting rampage, Charles Andrew Williams told San Diego County sheriff's detectives that he was unhappy at school and angry because he had been disciplined for tardiness several times, according to the document. Although friends described Williams as a frequent target of bullies, investigators make no mention of any complaints the teenager had about harassment.

Prepared by investigators to obtain a search warrant for the teenager's apartment, the affidavit was unsealed this week by a San Diego County Superior Court judge in El Cajon.

Two students died and 13 others, including a student teacher and a campus security guard, were wounded during the March 5 shooting at Santana High School.

Williams said he hatched his plan three days earlier and told a friend. After the shooting, several students said Williams had described such a plan but persuaded them he was only joking.

The affidavit said Williams "considered that he would be hurting people and that he might be punished for this behavior but had decided to do it anyway."

The statement, prepared by sheriff's homicide investigator Sharon Lunsford, continued: "While he did not intend to kill any particular person, if someone died, they died."

Authorities declined to elaborate on their interrogation of Williams. The teenager's lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Randy Mize, declined through a spokeswoman to comment.

According to the affidavit, Williams knew where his father kept the key to a locked gun cabinet. Without permission, he removed a .22-caliber revolver and put the weapon, along with 40 rounds of ammunition, into his backpack.

Williams said he went into a bathroom stall at Santee High School and loaded the revolver. He emerged, firing a shot into the head of a student, the affidavit said, apparently referring to 14-year-old Bryan Zuckor, who died. Williams said he shot a student he knew as Trevor and told him to shut up. Trevor Edwards, a junior, was wounded in the attack.

Williams went outside and began firing without regard, reloading four times, according to the affidavit.

Williams said he planned to save one bullet so that he could run away and kill himself. But he was prevented from doing so by sheriff's deputies and an off-duty San Diego police officer, who showed up just minutes after the shooting began.

Officers said Williams had at least one live round when they captured him.

The boy's father, Charles "Jeff" Williams, told detectives that the youngster had begun skipping school and talking back since they moved to Santee from Twentynine Palms last year.

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