San Diego teen allegedly planned to shoot student

The Associated Press
Wednesday December 06, 2000

SAN DIEGO — A 15-year-old student who showed off a handgun on campus and threatened to shoot a classmate escaped the attention of school officials because no one reported him, authorities said Tuesday. 

The student at Junipero Serra High School ended up accidentally shooting himself on Friday, causing minor injuries. He was booked into juvenile custody. 

But with at least one student having seen the boy with the .38-caliber pistol, authorities were concerned that no one reported him. 

“When they hear of these type of incidents where students may have a gun on campus, they should be taught by parents to tell teachers so police can check it out,” police spokesman Bill Robinson said Tuesday. 

The students were “very, very fortunate” that nothing more serious happened, he said. 

According to a police report, one student told an officer that the teen showed her the gun hours before the accidental shooting. 

“He lifted up his shirt and showed me the gun in his shorts,” she said in the report. When the girl asked the teen why he had the gun, he told her he was threatened by another student and “I’m going to shoot him after school,” the report stated. 

The girl did nothing. 

Even the boy who had allegedly been threatened by the teen failed to tell authorities. 

That does not surprise Ron Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center in Los Angeles. 

Despite the shooting deaths at Columbine High School in Colorado, “there clearly has not been a turnaround in this code of silence on campus,” Stephens told The San Diego Union-Tribune.  

“It is considered uncool to rat on your peers.” 

School officials sent a letter to students Tuesday advising them to report potential problems. 

“Each of us ... carries an individual responsibility to assure a safe environment for learning,” the letter said. “It is essential that you, the students, report dangerous incidents. Please give paramount consideration to your personal and schoolwide safety, and do not accept the false view that would label you an informant for doing so.” 

The student, who remains in juvenile custody, will automatically be recommended for expulsion, district spokesman David Smollar said. Juvenile criminal charges were pending.