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Santana Shooter Tells PBS: ‘I Couldn't Comprehend the Consequences’

Andy Williams says Newtown massacre “wasn’t really the same thing” compared to his acts of 2001.

PBS News Hour has released an interview with Charles “Andy” Williams reflecting on why he committed the deadly 2001 shootings at Santana High School in Santee.

Williams was 15 nearly 12 years ago when he walked onto the Santana campus with a loaded .22-caliber handgun taken from his father’s locked gun cabinet, and opened fire.

Miles O’Brien spoke by phone to Williams from Ironwood Prison, where he is serving a life sentence for killing two students and wounding 13.

PBS New Hour said they conducted the interview in an effort to find out what goes on in the mind of someone who does a rampage shooting.

“I can’t really give any insights into all these people that went out and did all these mass shootings,” Williams said. “In my mind, it’s not really the same thing. 

“My grand plan was suicide by cop.”

When asked how thoughts of suicide turned to hurting someone else, he said he had no coherent thought process at the time.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t comprehend the finality of the wrongness—that there would be severe and lifelong consequences,” he said.

“I didn’t really think two boys were going to die and 13 people would get shot.”

Williams said he was addicted to drugs at the time, faced bullying at school and abuse at the hands of a friend’s stepfather.

“I just wanted to get away from everyone and not be there anymore,” Williams said.

He shows remorse in the interview and tells the two families that lost sons that he is sorry and always will be.

Williams said he thinks it is possible to identify kids that might be prone to such violent attacks, saying there were a handful of red flags in his case.

Read more about the Santana shooting in a collection of stories published on the 10th anniversary of the attack.

Mike McHugh February 22, 2013 at 01:16 AM
I watched from the moment the News broke on TV and then was amazed on how fast My Motel I managed sold out of rooms from Network news to get rooms. I did not even know then MTV had a news team. I then as Peggy did watched student after student describe what they knew about the shooter. I saw at least 20 students say the kid was a loner and he was bullied on campus from the day he arrived, Taking his skateboard away, one was broken, Not until the trial and the DA got up did I hear his friends were the only ones that bullied him, and do not believe this for a minute. My Son was dating a Girl at Santana at the time, he brother transferred to another school because he too was bullied. Doctors will tell you You do not know what is takes to make a person crack and do what Charles Williams did this day, Seems he understood it was wrong, maybe he didnt mean to shoot and kill anyone and wanted cop to shoot him, and theys went wrong? We do no know . Doug Curlee has been reporting in the area for many years I respect his insight very much, I do notice how many more people were "Right There" when it all happened and eyewitnessed the events. If this were true folks you would have been on the Prosecutions witness list or you hid your tesitmony for some reason, why?
Mike McHugh February 22, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Adam, No you were not at the game, if you had been you would knw what Peggy said is true.She knows her daughter was one of the cheerleaders.The Coach was called for a technical minutes into the game and a fan, a former player walked down on the court, got in the Refs face, and only After the ref warned the Coach of a bench T did he ask him to leave. The Coach game the man a high 5 as did all the players, did I mention he was sitting on the FCHS side causing problems in the stands? The Incident with the "Jocks" as Peggy called them and they were 75% male wearing Santana Letterjackets happened midway through the 3rd qtr, the FCHS cheerleaders for about the 3rd time were on the floor and they guys all stood up and grabbed their crotches and wimed their rude gesture at the cheerleaders. The Ref saw this told The Coach to put a stop to this, he did so not willingly and like she said when he was done held out his hands to the refs in a "Are you happy" gesture. I sent complaints to the Principal, The School District and Bob Floquet the Chief Assigner of referee's for the Assn at the time.He had the same report I give here from his Referee's that night and a complaint the school did not have doors open and ready for them to change and be safe, They had bottles and and trash thrown at the just like the Family of the FCHS player they yelled Rogaine at.
Mike McHugh February 22, 2013 at 01:32 AM
In a response I got back from the Referee's Assn depsite my account for the game and the Referee's, the VP of the school said he interviewed several long time Santana fans and no one recalled anyone being thrown out of the game, and the rudeness just did not happen. Such Integrity. Liars is what I called it. The Coach by the way took blame for the doors not be open because in his own words " He thought his "Mentally Retarded trainer" had opened the doors. Very Very poor choice of words even worse to blame him. Yeah it did happen Adam and I tried to call you at the school and discuss this but they told me they don't have a Coach there named Adam Paul so I thought Id answer it here. Oh the date was on 2/2/2008 at Santana FCHS did not play Santana again the next two years and the games played since have been fill in games for league forfeits, and Santana had a game to give.
Mike McHugh February 22, 2013 at 01:33 AM
I agree, I watched at least 20 individuals speak on camera saying he was bullied and none were his friends.
adam paul February 22, 2013 at 05:25 AM
I am to a coach there. I am on the staff of the girls team and I also work for the football team. Whoever you talked to was wrong. Ive been there on a staff for the last 13 years. I have never missed a game for Santana basketball since Ive been a freshman other than being on the girls staff. I attend every Saturday game. So don't tell me what games I have and have not been to. I am not an on campus coach but am on staff. You can say what you want but to say the lack of leadership at Santana is BS. Coach Barry would never say "mentally retarted trainer". Just because I was there right next to the bathroom doesn't mean I or anyone else would have been on the prosecutions list. The head football coach was shot and he wasn't called as a witness. So that blows that statement out. Bullying is the excuse given. Look like Ive said I was picked on for being tall and ganky, walk on my toes due to my foot condition and at the time had a birth mark on my neck which I had removed. I didn't decide to shoot up Santana and this doesn't give anyone a right to do it either. Its a bunch of hogwash. He was an ADULT when he decided to bring a weapon onto campus and do what he did and he should have been tried as one.
adam paul February 22, 2013 at 06:01 AM
No its how about take responsibility for your actions. I have walked in the same shoes and I took responsibility for my actions which were with my fists at the time. This is a problem that still exists which is the lack of responsibility. Despite being very smart I was a very very angry person when I was younger before I went into high school. The lack of responsibility and the excuses of blaming others is the key here.
M February 22, 2013 at 06:39 AM
No one is saying that he had a right to bring a gun to school and shoot innocent ppl. But, you are ignorant to think that because you were able to cope with your bullying situation that everyone is able to do the same. Ppl are different, have different breaking points. Being bullied is no excuse, I agree. But just as he had no right to take someone else's life, you have no right to think or say that you know what he was going through "because you were there" or because "you have also been bullied". Good for you for coping with your bullying in a sane, rational way. Unfortunately, not everyone can cope the same way and make sane, rational decisions. Who knows, maybe there are some unknown mental issues that did not enable rational decisions. But that's my point, you may think you "really know" a person, but ppl react differently when pushed to a breaking point.
adam paul February 22, 2013 at 06:57 AM
Like I replied to your comment before. Its called taking responsibility. I don't need to know what he or any shooter etc was or is going through. Its an excuse like the serial killers etc that say "The Devil made me do it" or "I heard voices" or as in the case of Berkowitz he heard commands from the neighbors dog. Its all gibberish like oh I was sexually abused when I was a kid or younger. Like I said he was rational enough to make an ADULT choice to bring a gun on to the campus. Basically premeditated murder.
Leisha Ankers February 22, 2013 at 07:58 AM
Murderers are typically very honest individuals. I'm sure it was really all the evil kids at Santana's fault for bullying him. The people that are saying they were there and know him are not lying we all happen to be friends on Facebook and have been talking about this all day. It makes me sick to hear about all this sympathy for a cold blooded murderer. He made up stories to get sympathy and his stories changed multiple times if you haven't noticed. Move on and stop giving him the attention he so obviously craves.
Mike McHugh February 22, 2013 at 06:47 PM
only can say I asked for you and called again, and was told again No Adam Paul. I am scouring through my emails from the incident that shows Yes Your Coach used those words, I felt he shold have used the word "challenged" or better yet not even mentioned the young man, and Adam I do know who you are and you were not at that game if you were you would know all the incidents happened, I can link you to Both Head Pastors of Foothills Church < Any of the Parents of the Players that were there that night, I can find at least 50 that still attend FCHS games that will tell you yes, If bullying isnt the excuse why has the Governement and School District spoent Millions to pput an end to it, it can cause murders like this, Happened in Colorado, Missisippi, Virginia Tech 15 years old is not an Adult and in Normal States other than California he would not have been tried as one. And yeah I was bullied also in my first year in school and it was lucky we did not own a gun, I had more than once thoughts especially after a Football player lit a pack of matches undser my rear in class and the teacher thought it was funny of wanting to come back and blow them away. Uf we had a gun I would have, it is that easy to make a person crack. And that Bully now works for Homeland Security
adam paul February 22, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Mike, I don't know who you talked to because everyone in the office knows who i am. Iam on Larry Clark's staff for the girls. I was tim Barry's asst for 8 yrs. I have been on the football staff since 2005. I have been on a coaching staff since 2000. I was at the game. I don't know why you say you can link me to what you say you can since I have no affiliation with them. Again Coach Barry would not call any of the members of his staff a mental retarded trainer. Bullying isn't an excuse. You don't comprehend what I mean when I say about being an adult. When you make a decision to bring a gun onto campus with the intention of committing cold blooded premeditated murder that is an ADULT decision. Thus he should have been tried as an ADULT and given the death penalty. Instead he gets to live and be given camera time.
adam paul February 22, 2013 at 07:18 PM
This is the end on the subject for me as I can see people don't get it.
Lori February 22, 2013 at 08:08 PM
@ John & Doug, I couldn't agree more with you . Doug I wish we did know everything about Andy Williams, so we could all understand what went so wrong. God Bless all those involved !
Mike McHugh February 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM
As in Link I can have you speak to ther people from FCHS that will tell you everything I said happenedm including my Son who you have worked with at GCC when he announced games and kept Stats. he will tell you yes everything did happen. The letter from the Coach I am still looking from Bob Floquet is where I for what the Coach put the blame, note I did not use a Name you did. I have over 3000 saved emails from 2008 and deleted many since I thought the case was closed after the GUHSD took actions in the matter, and may be some that I deleted when I was hacked with Spam and deleted all my contacts from the account, Im sure I can get Bob Floquet that I have known since 1987 when he was the Head Umpire for ECNLL and the kids were playing ball. I can tell you to tgalk to Patti because I sent her a copy of the letter and she working at SWC said he isnt allowed to use that word, not something I made up, had no reason to. Sad thing the VP of AThletics that I believe still holds that postion,also told me nothing happened in his interviews but an apology to the FCHS was being sent to the Principal and the Cheer Coach. Loren said never got anything at FCHS nor did the Cheer Coach that's daughter was subject to the rudeness is now the Cheer Coach
adam paul February 23, 2013 at 12:38 AM
That's because no coach on the staff would have ever said anything like that. Also produce these emails. I don't need to speak to anyone.
adam paul February 23, 2013 at 12:39 AM
As on the topic I don't need to say anything more because people don't get it.
adam paul February 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Like I said if there were any issues than Foothills and Santana wouldn't be playing every year or almost every year.
Mike McHugh February 23, 2013 at 08:21 AM
They did not play the next two years and the past three were replacement games for League Forfeits and Santana was the only one that had points left,other wise FCHS wold have just gone without..Brad will play anyone anywhere no matter what circumstances, does not mean that night was not a good night. The problem wasnt with the team it was with the rudeness to the cheerleaders which did not attend the game when held at Santana two years ago only at Granite Hills
PwmCwzy February 23, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Don't know any of you, nor do I have a dog in this fight. It sounds to me that Adam Paul believes bullying is an acceptable form of behavior that everyone needs to learn how to accept. As he seems unwilling to believe that bullying went on or at the very least, inappropriate behavior, I question his qualifications to be on the staff of a high school athletic team. We cannot expect our children to learn acceptable interpersonal relations if the adults around them are ignorant. I don't care if you were there the day of the shooting or not, with your attitude you don't belong there now.
PwmCwzy February 23, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Leisha - Williams is paying the price society deemed suitable punishment. Maybe listening to his thought now will help psychiatrists in the future, provide better care for those in need, and prevent a like incident from happening. Many people have experienced or been part of tragedy, but hatred is not the answer. You all need to try to make something good happen out of your knowledge. You will heal much faster and be able to cope with life more successfully.
PwmCwzy February 23, 2013 at 11:55 PM
adam - You took responsibility for your actions using your fists? You may believe you are "very smart" but personally I believe you to still be a "very very angry person" who does not belong associated with teenagers in their formative years.
adam paul February 24, 2013 at 03:50 AM
PwmCwzy, when did I say that bullying was an acceptable form of behavior that everyone needs to accept? I never said that bullying never happened nor inappropriate behavior. What I said was it is no excuse to give him the right to take a weapon to a school and shoot people. Also go and re-read my statement about taking responsibility. Yes I took responsibility for my actions, not with my fists as you misread. When I was bullied I used to use my fists and get into fights. However I accepted the consequences because there was always consequences. If you read what I said you would have seen that. You are the ignorant one if you think what I said means I approve of bullying. I do not approve of it and never have. If you really think I am an angry person than go back and read what I had wrote because I specifically said I got over my anger by taking responsibility for my actions and realizing that I would change as at the time I was a young person. My qualifications for being on an athletic staff are impeccable and anyone who knows me will say the same thing. The same with my being in a classroom. As far as your comments to Leisha well it wasn't society that deemed it suitable, it was a judge who felt sorry for him because of the stories he made up etc.
adam paul February 24, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Meant appropriate behavior. Don't want that to be misread.
Mike McHugh February 24, 2013 at 08:54 AM
Well here it is Adam and it was worse than the Coach calling him retarded it was the VP of the School. Here is his reposnse which was a loaded bunch of phoooey. One he never interviewed Brad I asked him tonight, Loren the Principal of FCHS at the time and at the game was never interviewed, NO FCHS person was asked about the incidents including The father and a Coach of the player they yelled Rogaine. Only Santana People . I mean come on what do you think they are going to say. No one recalls the fan being ejected from the game yet the game was stopped for 5 minutes until her left the gym Amazing. And then to take aim with Lies about highly distiguished Referee that has called over 30 SDCIFS Championship game at the DIV I Level and say he cause the problem Denial is sad,. One there was no reason to say anything to the FCHS crowd they werent doing anything wrong. Two the ref wouldnt have told them not to yell during FT's it isnt agaisnt the rule. so when you scroll down you will find it is the VP that describes the young man that still works with the team as Mentally retarded, which a VP should know better than to use
Mike McHugh February 24, 2013 at 08:56 AM
These are my findings from an investigation conducted regarding the Santana vs Foothills Christian Varsity Basketball Game on February 2, 2008. I interviewed approximately 12 people that were present at this event including four staff members, the head coaches of both teams, two extremely involved and distinguished parents, a campus supervisor, and three students from the cheering section in question. Findings: this will be in 3 parts has too many words
Mike McHugh February 24, 2013 at 09:00 AM
It is evident that our student section acted inappropriately on at least three occasions. First, they booed the Foothills Cheerleaders during their halftime show. Second, they singled out a Foothills Basketball Player who had a receding hairline and chanted “Rogaine”. Lastly, they used profanity directed at Richard Trisby, one of the officials of the game. The supervision for this game was not adequate. Tim Barry, the Santana Head Basketball Coach acted appropriately inside of the gymnasium in regards to his interaction and behavior with the officials (even with a technical foul being issued early in the first quarter). I have no findings for the alleged incidents involving Coach Barry and the officials outside of the gymnasium. There was a bottle thrown in the direction of an official and the Santana Assistant Coach outside of the gym while they were heading to the boy’s locker room. I have no findings for the fan that allegedly confronted the official during the game. The majority of the people that I interviewed had no recollection or a vague recollection of that incident.
adam paul February 24, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Mike, email me at bbmgr99@hotmail.com. If its an official email I want to see the whole correspondence with time and date stamp and also the name of who said what because it just says these are my findings and that doesn't make any sense because it doesn't say who conducted interviews etc. Provide real emails and not cut and paste or whatnot.
Mike McHugh February 24, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Official Richard Trisby confronted the Santana cheering section on at least three occasions and never confronted the Foothills cheering section. During these visits to the Santana cheering section, he made these statements: “stop pounding your feet and shouting when they (Foothills) are shooting free throws”, “I will remove this whole section, you will all have to go to the CIF Sportsmanship Meetings, you need anger management classes, you will end up in jail, you need to shut your fucking mouths, I am going to throw your punk asses out of the gym”. This is verified by school employees not students. Summation: The Santana Student Section has been addressed and appropriate consequences given to those students known to be involved. This is the first incident of poor behavior by the Santana Student Section, which has attended nearly all home boys’ basketball games in large numbers. Richard Trisby was a catalyst for the poor behavior exhibited by Santana’s Student Section. A plan has been put in place for Saturday Non-Conference games where Administrative Supervision is not required per District Policy. The team manager responsible for letting the officials into the boy’s locker room is mentally retarded. He is sometimes forgetful and untimely with his responsibilities. Should you have any questions ; you may contact me by phone at (619) 956-0221 or by e-mail at loedewaldt@guhsd.net. Larry Oedewaldt Assistant Principal Santana high School
PwmCwzy February 24, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Adam - Your anger is blinding you to the reality of your explanations above. You said “I was picked on in elementary and partially in high school…” followed with “Ive said I was picked on for being tall and ganky, walk on my toes due to my foot condition and at the time had a birth mark on my neck which I had removed.” You then say “I have walked in the same shoes and I took responsibility for my actions which were with my fists at the time.” All that indicates you were bullied and the way you dealt with it was with fist fights. That is not taking responsibility, that was YOU GOING FOR RETRIBUTION. After the fist fights you may have decided your actions were inappropriate, but it doesn’t change the fact that you tried to retaliate. You may have been punished, and you accepted that punishment, but it doesn’t mean you can change the fact of your original reaction to fight back. After the fact responsibility doesn’t change what you did, nor does it absolve you from the action. Your unwillingness to accept the fact that Santana students could not, and/or did not, behave improperly towards the cheerleaders when confronted with several accounts of the incident, indicates you don’t even accept that bullying takes place. In my opinion that means tacit approval. I am only trying to explain how your words came across to me. Take it for what it is worth to you. I may be totally off-base but its what I read and thought at the time.
adam paul February 24, 2013 at 06:28 PM
PwmCwzy, My anger is not blinding me toward anything. Yes I finally did take responsibility for my actions. Course I retaliated like any young kid would but I didn't shoot anyone in doing so. Did I ever say I wanted to change the fact that I did get into fights after being called names? NO I didn't. Could I have handled my actions differently? Sure but I did what I thought at the time would get me through things. By the way I was never in a fight in high school. In high school I ignored it and joined the basketball team. Anyways I am done with this conversation and Mike you have my email address.

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