Officers evacuate students at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, after former student Eric Houston seized hostages on the campus on May 1, 1992.

They survived a mass shooting at their California high school 30 years ago. It still affects them today

Updated 3:00 AM ET, Sat August 6, 2022

(CNN)Angela Welch still recalls every detail. The stocky gunman in a camo ​vest. The gunshots, one after another. The piercing screams, echoing through the building. The muffled sobs.

Welch was a high school sophomore in Olivehurst, California, when a former student entered her school on a Friday afternoon with a 12-gauge shotgun in one hand, a .22-caliber rifle slung over his back and a band of ammunition on a belt.
It was May 1, 1992 -- seven years before Columbine, before the days of active shooter drills, before anyone imagined a gunman entering a school and harming students would become a common occurrence.
Lindhurst High School was abuzz with anticipation -- it was the day before the prom. Then, suddenly, the school erupted in chaos. The vaguely familiar young man stalked the halls, gunning down a teacher, shooting students in classrooms and holding dozens of others hostage.
By the time the eight-hour siege was over, three students and a teacher were dead, and 10 people were wounded, court documents show. The town of about 10,000 north of Sacramento was forever changed.
Authorities described the shooter, Eric Houston, then 20, as a Lindhurst High dropout who'd failed to graduate from the school three years earlier and who blamed his former history teacher, Robert Brens, for giving him a failing grade.
The shooting at Lindhurst High School -- an almost unheard of occurrence at the time -- made national  headlines.