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Alleged gunman in Carlsbad school shooting is ID'd

October 8, 2010 | 11:08 pm

 woman who identified herself as a teacher's aide is escorted off the campus at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad, Calif., after a gunman opened fire and slightly wounded two students. Credit: Don Bartletti /Los Angeles Times
Authorities late Friday identified the alleged gunman in a Carlsbad, Calif., school shooting that left two young girls with minor injuries as Brendan L. O’Rourke, 41, thought to be a transient.

O'Rourke was booked on six counts of attempted murder and numerous weapons violations, police said. He is being held at the San Diego County jail in Vista.

His arrest came after he was tackled by construction workers after allegedly ranting incoherently  and then firing on the playground at Kelly Elementary School at lunchtime Friday.

The injured girls, both second-graders, suffered graze wounds to the arm, possibly from shrapnel, authorities said. They were airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital in nearby San Diego. Witnesses who saw them taken to the aircraft said they did not appear to be seriously injured and that one girl even waved to onlookers.

Ed Willins, an eyewitness to the shooting, said he saw the workers tackle, punch and kick the gunman. "They were on him immediately," he said. "They administered a little street justice on him before the cops got there."

Shortly after noon, the gunman drove up to Kelly Elementary, said Lt. Kelly Cain of the Carlsbad Police Department. Armed with a .357-caliber handgun, Cain said, the assailant stepped onto the sidewalk next to the playground and started shooting firing "wildly," firing five or six shots.

Construction worker Carlos Partida, who was remodeling the school kitchen in the beachside community 30 miles north of San Diego, said he saw a man jump over the school fence and start firing a gun at children. He said the gunman appeared to be reloading and trying to leave the scene when Partida jumped in his truck and rammed the man, knocking him down.

"My reaction was to get him. Get him away from the kids," he said. Partida, 30, of Chula Vista, said he and two other construction workers held the gunman down and kept the weapon away until police arrived.

Partida said the gunman, who was wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and black pants, had been screaming incoherently. Authorities later discredited initial reports that the gunman was ranting about President Obama.

Some witnesses said the gunman was carrying a gasoline can and others said it seemed to be gasoline can decorated like a Halloween jack-o’-lantern. The bomb squad was called to examine a propane tank found in the gunman's car.

-- Tony Perry in Carlsbad, Calif.

Photo: A woman who identified herself as a teacher's aide is escorted off the campus at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad, Calif., after a gunman opened fire and slightly wounded two students.

Credit: Don Bartletti /Los Angeles Times

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