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Carlsbad school shooting suspect pleads not guilty

October 13, 2010 |  4:25 pm

Brendan L. O'Rourke, 41, an unemployed security guard, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to seven counts of attempted murder in connection with Friday's attack at a Carlsbad elementary school that left two students wounded.

O'Rourke was ordered held in custody on $10-million bail by Judge Marshall Hockett at his arraignment at the Vista branch of San Diego County Superior Court. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 17.

Authorities said two girls were injured by a gunman who was shouting incoherently as he fired at students on the playground at Kelly Elementary School at lunchtime. The girls, ages 6 and 7, have recovered from their wounds, officials said.

The assailant allegedly fired six shots before his .357-caliber magnum handgun jammed and his efforts at reloading failed, prosecutors said.

O'Rourke's neighbors at his Oceanside apartment building have portrayed him as emotionally unstable and given to shouting and making threats.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Brendan L. O'Rourke appears at his arraignment with his attorney, Kathleen Cannon. He is being held in custody on $10-million bail. Credit: Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune