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School shooting suspect got 'street justice,' witness says [Updated]


Witnesses praised the efforts of several bystanders who subdued a a gunman who fired on a elementary school playground in Carlsbad, Calif., slightly wounding two children.

The witnesses also said the unidentified suspect was ranting about President Obama when he opened fire at Kelly Elementary School.

[Updated at 11:20 p.m.: Authorities late Friday discredited initial reports that the gunman ranted about Obama during shooting. They identified the alleged gunman as Brendan L. O’Rourke, 41.

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.]

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 said they did not appear to be seriously injured as they were taken to the aircraft and that one of them waved to onlookers.

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

Lt. Kelly Cain of the Carlsbad Police Department said the assailant was armed with a .357-caliber handgun. He said the man stepped onto the sidewalk next to the school playground and started firing "wildly" five or six shots.

The gunman was taken to a local hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises he suffered in his capture and was expected to then be taken to a jail in Vista.

[Updated at 9:15 p.m.: Witnesses originally described the gunman as being in his 20s, but Carlsbad police said late Friday that they believed he was in his 40s or 50s.

Cain said the gunman, described as thin, with a goatee and frizzy hair, has given three names, one of them a woman’s name. There was no immediate indication that he was connected to the school in any way or knew any of the children or teachers there.]

-- Tony Perry in Carlsbad, Calif.

Top photo: A woman comforts a distraught woman after a lone gunman came on to the campus at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad, Calif.

Credit: Hayne Palmour IV / North County Times

Right photo: Rhonda Spence hugs a friend of her daughter.

Credit: Hayne Palmour IV / North County Times

Comments () | Archives (18)

Congratulations to those workers! Give them the keys to the city.

Look how these females become distraught within seconds when something real goes down. That is why we still need men.

"... the unidentified suspect was ranting about President Obama when he opened fire at Kelly Elementary School."

Yet one more terrible crime which would have been prevented if we had mental hospitals in California and forced patients in need of psychiatric help to stay locked up in them or at the very least forced those patients to take their prescribed anti-psychotic meds and we made sure a guardian looked after them. This person who did this really is dangerous. He has no "political agenda" as his statement would suggest. He is seriously mentally ill; and no doubt, everyone who knows him knew long ago he was ill.

Typical tea bag, hates Obama, does something insane...

Does this mean he will miss the next Tea Party meeting?

I strongly dissagree with Rich's comment. In fact it is down right scarier than any gunman could be. The opinion of removing our civil rights for "precrime" has long been touted as some solution to mental illness and used previously in the 1700s and ealier. As our mental health system is still stuck in the dark ages with methods, diagnosis, treatment and unproven(but widely prescribed) medications it would be emmensly tragic to subject the people of this country to forced hospitalization, forced gaurdianship, and forced medication. I don't know the exact line but our constitution forbids it.

I'm glad the kids are all right and that the shooter was caught, but there's something else that's very distressing about this story -- there are only 21 faculty members for 442 kids.

In an elementary school.

Kindergarten through fifth grade.

That works out to 21.05 students per faculty member.

People blame technology for children's shrinking attention span, but I blame the fact that there are too few teachers for too many children at every grade level.

This guy with the gun doesn't sound very bright, or he has emotional issues, but he probably attended an American public school where no teacher ever knew his name. How can children possibly learn anything in a setting like that?

It's not just California schools with this class size problem. But what pisses me off is, this has been an unaddressed problem since I was in school, and I graduated high school in 1975.

Moar Teechurs Pleez!

The last great discrimination in America is the plight of the mentally disabled and until we turn our prisons into mental hospitals and treat the mentally ill in this country will things turn around. Millions of mentally ill inmates are released every year in America that are undiagnosed, untreated and unmedicated to a uneducated society.

ET Snell
www.calpra.com (California Prison Reform Act)

Well, we can thank the "Governator", Arnold, for yet one more mentally unstable person on the streets, instead of getting help in a mental health facility. There are more mentally unstable people on the street here, than healthy. Yes, he slashed/vetoed mental health care just a few days ago, in favor of boosting funds for wildfires by over a billion dollars- he's going to need it with all the little firebugs he's unleashed onto the city. I guess until it happens to one of his children, it doesn't really affect him. Typical government mentality.

Mental Patient? Are you serious.... There are other ways to act upon your "mental distress" than to shoot inoccent children. You can punch a bag, throw rocks into the ocean, take deep breaths, ETC...but SHOOTING INNOCENT children is not one of them. You have to stop blaming everyone else for your own problems already...Oh well if your crazy. There is medication for that , but still not an excuse for shooting children


Mentally Ill or not,he needs to be put in prison(not a hospital) for the rest of his life.There is not excuses for shooting at innocent 7-8 years olds.I have a 9 year old girl and if that ever happened to my child i would move h.e.l.l and earth to make sure the "correct" justice is served.

We must put him down.


we must not assume that your own mental stresses were anything similar to this mans. what is most important is understanding what caused such a shooting to occur.

Putting one man behind bars - or perhaps executing him, does not stop actions like this from happening.

Understanding that the mentally ill need to be compassionately cared for in this country, just as our children require such care, will put an end to senseless acts of violence such as the one reported.

Please understand that mental anguish is not an excuse for such actions - but rather a point of understanding.

This issue is not as simple as "he was a bad person" and please never shut the book on others as quickly as that. Yes this is a tragedy - but it will be even more tragic is our states responds simply by putting one man permanently behind bars.

it never ceases to amaze me how often we shut our ears and eyes.


Mental patient? My eye! I hope they beat this dirt bag within a inch of his life!! Street Justice yes!!

Obviously a member of the teabaggers

There is nothing wrong with "street justice" when properly applied.

I am a parent of one of the students at Kelly Elementary, and am so grateful to the construction workers that put a world of hurt on this bastard that decided to take away my daughters trust and innocence. I believe that if these workers did a valiant thing and are deserving of an award and first chance I get I will personly thank them and give them my personal gratitude . Thank You John Burwell, Carlsbad

I can't wait to see how the right wing machine turns this into an anti-hispanic rant.


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