Trial ordered for man accused of opening fire at elementary school, wounding two tots
VISTA (CNS) – A man accused of opening fire at a Carlsbad elementary school last fall, wounding two second-grade girls, must stand trial on multiple charges of premeditated attempted murder and assault with a firearm, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Brendan Liam O'Rourke faces up to 103 years to life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Vista Judge K. Michael Kirkman ruled that enough evidence had been presented for the 41-year-old O'Rourke to stand trial April 26 on seven counts each of attempted murder and assault. A readiness conference was set for April 5.
A construction worker who pursued O'Rourke and ultimately helped capture him testified today that the gunman appeared “crazy' and had a “disconnected” look on his face during the rampage.
Carlos Partida, one of three construction workers who had a hand in stopping the gunman, said O'Rourke was saying something about President Barack Obama as he was shooting.
On Monday, one of the second-graders shot by the gunman at Kelly Elementary testified that she saw him with a gun and heard him yelling just before she was shot.
The now-8-year-old girl, who was wounded in the right arm near the elbow, said she saw the gunman during the lunch recess last Oct. 8 and heard him yelling something she couldn't make out before she started walking away and heard loud noises, like an earthquake.
Suddenly, her arm felt weird and kind of “squiggly.”
“I wasn't looking at him because I ran away,” the composed youngster said. “I remember I saw in his hand … a gun.”
The girl said she was a few feet from the gunman on a grassy field play area when she was shot — she was 7 at the time. She said she ran to a classroom where a nurse calmed her down, before being airlifted to Rady Children's Hospital.
The girl said she couldn't draw, get dressed by herself, shower, take martial arts classes or play soccer for a number of weeks because of her injury.
The other girl, now 7, testified that she was playing with friends when she was shot in the left arm.
“I saw the guy with the gun,” she said, telling the prosecutor that the man was pointing the gun right at her arm.
The girl — who was 6 at the time — said she ran to the classroom after she was shot, and was unable to do gymnastics or jump on a trampoline after being wounded.
At O'Rourke's arraignment last year, Stephan said the defendant jumped a fence at the school and went onto a playground at 12:12 p.m.
He was carrying a .357 Ruger six-shot revolver, a speed re-loader, extra ammunition, a propane tank, gas can and matches, the prosecutor alleged.
An 8-year-old boy testified Monday that he was eating lunch in the school cafeteria when he saw man with an orange tool box run by and shoot his gun.
The boy said he heard “two pops,” then a few more.
“I just saw him shoot at my friend,” the boy said.
He said he saw a gun with “six holes” when the man stopped to reload.
O'Rourke was confronted by an aide who asked him what he was doing, and the defendant pointed the gun at her, as well, but it didn't fire because a casing was stuck in the chamber, the prosecutor said.