California School Closed After Attacker Brings Pipe Bomb, Sword And Chain Saw on Grounds
SAN MATEO, CA – A teacher being hailed as a hero said Tuesday he had no time to think when he encountered a 17-year-old boy who detonated two pipe bombs at a Northern California high school while armed with a chain saw, sword and explosives.
Teacher Kennet Santana, 35, is one of a number of Hillsdale High School staffers credited with subduing the boy, who police say walked into the San Mateo school Monday morning and set off two pipe bombs in a hallway near a library.
Santana told The Associated Press he saw the commotion and was walking cautiously toward it when he found himself face to face with the teen.
“He had a black tactical vest on with lots of pockets,” Santana said by phone Tuesday. “We were maybe six feet away from each other at this point. We’re talking seconds. There was not time for a lot of thinking.”
Santana stopped the boy with a bear hug and threw him to the floor. He was then joined by Principal Jeff Gilbert and school counselor Ed Canda, and the three held the boy down until police arrived.
There was little risk the other bombs would go off because the boy hadn’t lit the fuses.
“He was not struggling,” Santana said. “It was almost like he was defeated.”
The explosions caused neither serious damage nor injury, but the 1,270-student school was evacuated, and Santana and the other staff members were credited with stopping a situation that could have played out much more tragically.
Evidence collected so far suggests the boy had planned the attack for months, and that he had a number of specific targets on the school faculty whom he believed had wronged him, San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer said.
“He had planned in brutal and chilling detail this action over months,” she said. “He clearly was out to demonstrate he could get back at the school administration.”