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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 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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