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School shooter 'smiling,' witness says

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Scenes from Santana High School in Santee, California, on Monday

Two killed, 13 wounded at San Diego-area high school

SANTEE, California (CNN) -- A 15-year-old student killed two classmates at a California high school and wounded another 13 people before his arrest Monday, police said.

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.

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.

A witness said the freshman boy arrested in the shooting was smiling when he allegedly emerged from a restroom with a long-barreled gun.

"He was looking around, smiling, with his weapon. He fired two more shots and went back in," student John Schardt said.

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TEST Images of the aftermath of the Santana High School shooting in Santee, California
 
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Santana High School student John Schardt gives his account of the shooting

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A female student gives her account of the shooting on Monday at Santana High School

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A KGTV correspondent talks with one of the friends of the California high school shooting suspect

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A classmate talks about the shooting suspect

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Student Alicia Zimmer said, "I was probably 10 feet away from some of the victims ... I saw a boy laying on the floor with his face downward.

"Everybody was running. A whole lot of people were crying. Nobody knew what really happened," Zimmer said.

She said there was a girl nearby with "blood all over her arm" and another with blood on her hand. "Then all of a sudden, we heard more shots going off. It sounded more like a cap gun than anything. It was really scary. Everybody was running."

Andrew Kaforey, a 17-year-old Santana senior, said he ran into the bathroom with a security guard after hearing what sounded like a firecracker or a gunshot.

"He pointed the gun right at me, but he didn't shoot," Kaforey said. As he and the guard ran out, the gunman shot the guard in the back, Kaforey said.

Authorities with guns drawn arrested the suspect in the bathroom, Schardt said.

"Two or three" adults were among the victims, San Diego County Sheriff William Kolender said.

Schardt said he photographed the incident and another student videotaped the scene. Authorities confiscated the students' film and videotape, Schardt said.

The 15-year-old suspect is likely to be charged as an adult under California law, San Diego County District Attorney Paul Pfingst said.

"Investigators are now putting together the case and are interviewing literally hundreds, hundreds of witnesses," Pfignst said.

Fellow students told CNN affiliate KGTV the youth arrested in the shooting was a ninth-grader who had threatened to shoot someone at the school before.

"We didn't think he would do it," student Josh Stevens said. KGTV said Stevens was questioned by authorities after giving that account to reporters.

A parent said the suspect had spent the night at his house Saturday and had talked about shooting up the school. The man said he confronted the boy, who then said he was joking.

"I said, 'I don't want a Columbine or anything happening around here,'" the parent said, "and now it has because I didn't say anything."

Santana High School will be closed Tuesday and counselors will be available at a nearby church, Principal Karen Degaschir said.

"This is my worst nightmare," Degaschir said. "I'm very concerned about the students. I'm very concerned about their families right now, and I'm concerned about my staff."

Neither Degaschir nor Kolender would comment on a possible reason for the shooting.

"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.

Emergency workers
Emergency workers treat a wounded man near the front gate of Santana High School in Santee, California  

"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.



RELATED STORIES:
Detroit high school shooting injures 3
February 2, 2001
Student dies after shooting outside Baltimore high school
January 17, 2001
Student killed in Michigan elementary school shooting
February 29, 2000
Suspect in custody after school shooting in Oklahoma
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RELATED SITES:
Santana High School
San Diego County Sheriff's Department
TheSanDiegoChannel: KGTV
Children's Hospital San Diego: Pediatric Care Facility
Scripps Mercy Hospital
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

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