Ten year anniversary of the Santana High School shooting

Saturday is the ten year anniversary of the shooting spree at Santee High School that left two students dead and another student in prison for life. Friday night, KUSI took a look back and remembered that tragic day.

The shooting at Santana High School in Santee shocked the community. Shortly before 9:30am on March 5, 2001, a 15-year-old student opened fire killing two teens and injuring 13 others.

Christine Robbins was the sheriff's department patrol supervisor that day, she recalls her experience. “I remember driving down Magnolia and my deputies that were responding are saying they were going into the school and as I looked, all I could see was just a sea of kids flooding across from the school into the parking lot and so I went ahead and I set up our incident command structure.”

It was a chaotic scene as students were moved to a parking lot across the street. Former KUSI reporter Doug Curlee was there that day and he joined us again Friday to remember the tragedy. “We spent a lot of the day trying to reunite children and parents, they would come up to us and say have you seen my mom? And mom's would come to us, have you seen my child,” said Doug, “they were all looking for that face in the crowd not knowing if their child was killed, wounded or missing.”

While parents and children were being reunited, deputies went after the suspect who was hiding in a school bathroom.

Christine Robbins remembers, “my partners, deputies Perez and Clugee and deputy Smith decided they were going in and I went in with them and the target was to stop the violence.”

Randy Voepel had been Mayor of Santee for just nine weeks at the time. He praised law enforcement and firefighters for putting their lives on the line, saying “the deputy sheriff's, when they went in, our firefighters usually wait for an area to be secure, but firefighters were two steps behind the deputies, so these people are true heroes.”

The shooter was 15-year-old Andy Williams. He's serving 50 years to life in the state prison at Calipatria.

Saturday, at noon, Santee Mayor Randy Voepel will honor the victims by saying a prayer and laying a dozen roses in front of the school. It's something he does every year and the public is invited to attend.

Categories: KUSI