A look at the terrible San Diego shooting

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, March 5, 2001, provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.

Now for the top story tonight, another appalling school shooting, this time outside of San Diego in the small town of Santee. A 15-year-old freshman at Santana High School opened fire with a handgun, killing two students and wounding 13 other people. The boy is now in custody. And this shooter had tipped off some of his friends, who didn't take him seriously.


UNIDENTIFIED FRIEND: The whole weekend he was talking about it and me and my friends were like, "You're not serious, are you?" And he says, "I'm just joking." And then he asked us if we wanted to do it with him. And we're all, "You, you said you were joking." He's, "Oh, well, I am. I was just messing around."


O'REILLY: And they didn't say anything and incredibly an adult, a 29- year-old father of one of the students, heard this boy say he was going to shoot people and the adult did not do anything. We'll get to that in a moment.

Now, eyewitnesses to the shooting were understandably distraught.


UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: And I heard a bunch of people running out and someone said, "Somebody's got a gun!" and a bunch of people just started running out. And then I heard some shots and then I saw the bullets hit the wall on the side of the hallway. I just turned around and ran out of there.

UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: So I see a kid laying on the ground and I turn around and just told the kids, you know, to run onto the tennis courts. And I was on the tennis courts and I'm still hearing pop, pop, pop.

UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: I didn't even know it was gunshots. I thought it was fireworks so I was just checking it out, what happened. Then people started ducking and covering and some guy went down, one of the narcs went down and I guess he got hit. And so we all were instructed into our classrooms and we didn't know anything until we got out here, that it was actually gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: The student who was shooting came back out, fired his weapon a couple more times and went back in. There was multiple victims in the rest room. We saw one get carried out.

UNIDENTIFIED EYEWITNESS: There was a bunch of guys crowding around some guy on the ground and all of a sudden the guys who were around him started running and so did everyone else. All of a sudden I noticed the guy that they were crowding around wasn't getting up.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from the scene of the carnage is Roger Hedgecock, the former Mayor of San Diego and now a talk show host for KOGO Radio.

Hey, Roger, I understand that not only the kid who just talked with us about knowing that this shooter had that in his mind, but some adults knew as well? What's going on?

ROGER HEDGECOCK, FORMER SAN DIEGO MAYOR, KOGO RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Apparently over the last weekend the suspect had said to friends' fathers that he was very unhappy, that he was talking about shooting people, that they thought in the end after they talked to him he was kidding. Today when classes started, one of the students said he was so concerned about the continued statements by the suspect that he actually patted him down and didn't find a gun. And then the kid said, "Well, don't worry, I'm just kidding."

O'REILLY: What about this kid's parents? Do we know anything about them?

HEDGECOCK: We don't know much. What we have here is a kid who's new to the school. He's a freshman, apparently very unhappy. But a next door neighbor, another high school student, said today that she thought he was just a perfectly normal kid. She had a P.E. class with him. This is a very bucolic, low crime suburb here in San Diego and this kind of thing has left this community in shock and disbelief.

O'REILLY: Now, there was a report, one of the kids told us that the kid, the shooter got the guns from his father, who had an arsenal in the house. Is that what you're hearing?

HEDGECOCK: Well, we're hearing there were some guns in the house, not unusual. This is an area that does believe in the Second Amendment. It also believes in safe guns, however. I find that it's going to be difficult to believe this was some kind of a nut case extremist. These are probably middle class, middle of the road ordinary people.

O'REILLY: Yeah. Whenever something like this happens, you start to get finger pointing. I myself believe that no matter how many laws that you have, no matter what you do, you're always going to be, in a free society, subjected to things like this. But there is a copycat element to these things and that's what makes these warnings to parents and other kids so frightening, because Columbine, everybody knew what happened there and then subsequently there have been other kids who have said hey look, this kid here is talking about this.

But in Santee, apparently nobody heeded the Columbine warnings. Is that an object of discussion?

HEDGECOCK: You know, that's got to be part of the discussion out here because, again, people over the weekend did talk to this kid. He was talking wild about shooting, about going to school with a gun. Parents knew this. They did hear it. One father in particular talked with the suspect over the weekend. You've got other kids so concerned about this that they're talking to him this morning before class...

O'REILLY: Right. It's just unbelievable that this adult wouldn't bring it to the attention of the school principal, at least, or, you know, I can see not calling the police. I understand that. But the school principal? Or the kid's own parents, you know? Let the kid's own parents know what's going on here.

Had there been any, has this adult who knew about this been confronted with any of this?

HEDGECOCK: We're going to see a lot more of that in the next couple of days, I'm sure, because everybody in the media is chasing this story and chasing the family angle and chasing the school security angle. But, Bill, you're absolutely right, they had security. They had run security drills. They'd had the sheriff's department in here. In fact, they got to this kid within minutes of the first shot because there was a sheriff's deputy on campus.

So everything that could have been done to protect the children out here at this school was done. But how do you protect against this?

O'REILLY: No, you can't. But if you hear something, especially a responsible adult hears something, then you've got to let the kid's parents, the school principal know about it. Even if the kid says he's joking, that's — not in this day and age, Roger. You know what I mean?

HEDGECOCK: It's like the...

O'REILLY: You don't let stuff like that go.

HEDGECOCK: It's like the airports, you can't say that anything is a joke in an airport about guns or bombs.

O'REILLY: That's right.

HEDGECOCK: And I think the same has got to be true on these high school campuses.

O'REILLY: That's right, Roger. Good analogy. And we thank you very much for your time and keep us posted on what's going on out there.

HEDGECOCK: Will do it.

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