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Janitor held without bail in fatal shooting of Placerville school principal

February 3, 2011 |  2:26 pm

Janitor held without bail in fatal shooting of Placerville school principal A janitor who allegedly shot and killed the principal of a Northern California elementary school was being held Thursday without bail, authorities said.

John Harold Luebbers, 44, who worked at Louisiana Schnell Elementary School in Placerville, was taken into custody Wednesday at his El Dorado home shortly after allegedly killing principal Sam Ronald Lacara, said officials with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department.

Luebbers told investigators Lacara had fired him Wednesday morning, according to a statement from Capt. Mike Scott of the Placerville Police Department. Luebbers confessed he drove home and retrieved a handgun after being fired, officials said.

He returned to the campus just after 10:30 a.m., walked into Lacara’s office and fired two rounds, striking the principal, Scott said.

Lacara, 50, was taken in critical condition to Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, about 45 miles east of Sacramento. He later died at the hospital.

No students at Louisiana Schnell Elementary were hurt, but at least one witnessed the shooting, according to school officials. As a precaution, officials put the school and three others nearby on lockdown Wednesday, police said.

School officials could not be reached for comment Thursday, but Placerville Union School District officials announced on their website that Louisiana Schnell Elementary, Markham Middle School and Sierra Elementary would be closed Thursday “due to the tragic events.”

School would resume Friday, and counseling and grief support services would be provided to students upon their return, according to information issued by school district officials.


Principal fatally shot at elementary school

Students safe after shooting at school in Placerville

-- Ann M. Simmons

Photo: John Luebbers. Credit: MCT