Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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

October 8, 2010 |  6:53 pm

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