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Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 00:02 GMT
Shooting suspect 'was teased'
parents reunited with children
Parents waited anxiously as children fled for their lives
A 15-year-old boy suspected of carrying out the school shooting in California is reported to have been teased often, and one witness said the student smiled during his rampage.

"He's a kid who gets picked on a lot because he does not stand up for himself," said Chris Reynolds, an adult who knew the suspect.

"Most of the time he just takes it. He is joking around about it... I didn't think he was serious," he said.


He was telling us how he was going to bring a gun to school ... but we thought he was joking

Neil O'Grady, friend of suspect

Witnesses described chaotic scenes as the suspect opened fire in Santana High School in Santee, about 16km (10 miles) northeast of San Diego.

Student John Schardt said he was in a nearby classroom when the shooting erupted in a boys' lavatory.

"I looked at the kid, and he was smiling and shooting his weapon," he said. "It was total chaos. People were trying to take cover."

Running for cover

Another pupil, Amy Barney, said she was not immediately aware that she was hearing gunshots.

"I thought it was firecrackers but it wasn't, it was bullets," she said.

"I saw a guy lying on the ground, and then I started hearing things. All my friends were like running and I was like, where is everyone going?"

Medics attend to shooting victim
The gunman wounded 13 in the rampage

Another student, Alicia Zimmer, said she dropped her belongings in fright as the shooting erupted.

"It was in the middle of the hall, the small quad," she told a local television station, KGTV.

"I saw a victim, a boy, lying on the floor, with his face downward. There was another girl standing there with blood all over her arms," she said.

"A lot of people were standing around in a circle looking at the girl ... all of a sudden we heard more shots go off. It sounded more like a cap gun than anything. It was really scary. Everybody was running. A whole lot of people were crying."

Suspect 'talked of shooting'

Neil O'Grady, 15, said the suspect had talked to him and other friends over the weekend about taking a gun into school and using it.

"He was telling us how he was going to bring a gun to school ... but we thought he was joking," he said. "We were like, 'Yeah, right'."

The suspect recently had two skateboards stolen from him, O'Grady said. "He always gets picked on. He's scrawny, he's little ... People think he's dumb."

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America and the gun

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