School shooting tapes released, suspect’s family talks

The Associated Press
Saturday March 10, 2001

LOS ANGELES — Excerpts of 911 calls from the Santana High School shooting were released Friday, the family of the teen-ager accused in the fatal attack said they were horror-stricken and the governor called on teachers to spend more time talking to students. 

Just hours before a public memorial for Randy Gordon and Bryan Zuckor, the students killed in Monday’s rampage at the suburban San Diego school, the family of Charles Andrew “Andy” Williams issued a statement. 

Williams has been charged with two counts of murder and 26 other counts for allegedly killing his classmates and wounding 13 other people during a six-minute shooting spree. 

“They would like all of you to know that they were horror-stricken by the events that took place at Santana High School and they remain shocked and confused,” read the statement, issued through the public defender’s office. 

Sheriff’s deputies released edited tapes of three calls received Monday as the shooting started. 

The most dramatic came from an injured student, breathing fast and heavy. 

“He was in the boy’s bathroom. ... I don’t know where he went. Everyone was running around,” she said in brief portions of the 17-minute call that were released. 

In Los Angeles, Gov. Gray Davis said metal detectors and better communication in public schools might help prevent tragedies like Santee. 

Metal detectors could be a way to keep weapons out of classrooms, Davis said in brief comments about the shooting at a California Federation of Teachers conference. 

Many of the 400 teachers in the audience moaned at the suggestion by Davis, who went on to say that airports have become safer places because of such precautions. 

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there have been far fewer shootings on airplanes than in schools,” he said. 

It might be time to teach children to resolve their own conflicts, one teacher said. 

“We as adults and teachers have taken care of the problems for kids instead of teaching the kids how to take care of their own problems,” said Marilyn Chapman, a third-grade teacher from Litchfield, a tiny community north of Sacramento. 

Davis was on his way to visit one of the two victims still hospitalized. Both victims were reported in good condition and expected to be released in the next few days. 

Davis and his wife Sharon, a 1972 Santana graduate, then planned to attend the memorial service. 

Funerals for Gordon and Zuckor were scheduled this weekend. 

Four students who heard Williams threaten to shoot classmates and failed to report him will be barred from Santana High School for the rest of the year for their own safety, officials said Thursday. 

Several people said they heard Williams talk of planning to shoot up the school on Monday but passed it off as one of his frequent jokes. Students and community members have expressed anger over their failure to notify authorities. 

Most of the school’s 1,900 students returned to classes Wednesday. Grief counselors will continue to be available on campus for at least 45 days. 

Two teachers were out sick the first day, including one Ward said suffered a mild heart attack during the shooting.