Armed Teen-Ager Takes High School Class Hostage, Shoots One
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ A 15-year-old boy with a shotgun and a handgun took a high school drama class hostage Thursday, wounding a youth who dared him to shoot but surrendering later without further violence, police said.
The wounded youth was in fair condition after the 40-minute confrontation at Loara High School with the teenage gunman police identified as Cory Robb.
″We have had contact with him before in our department,″ Police Chief Joseph Molloy said.
Robb, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and an automatic, entered the class of 35 students, shot the victim, Tony Lopez, 15, within the first few minutes, then ordered the teacher out of the room, Lt. Marc Hedgpeth said. Ten minutes later, he let the girls and the wounded boy to leave, but 10 or 12 boys remained. A police negotiator began talking to the boy and he later put down his weapons and walked out of the classroom, officers said.
Robb had only been a student at Loara for a few weeks and ″there was nothing to indicate he was after one particular student,″ Hedgpeth said.
Student Mindy DeLuca said she was in the class when Robb entered wearing a trench coat and holding a gun.
He told the teacher, identified only as Mr. Tuttle, to leave the auditorium and lock the door behind him, Miss DeLuca said, and the teacher said: ″Come on class, we’re going.″
The boy again told the teacher to leave alone and lock the door.
Miss DeLuca said the boy then told the class to ‴go sit with friends, do whatever you want to.′ He was relaxed after that.″
″I thought it was a joke because it was in drama,″ she said.
The armed boy was calm at the outset but one boy began antagonizing him, said drama student Jimmy Hurley, 15.
″He was telling him to ‘shoot me’ - and he did,″ Hurley said.
The wounded boy and the alleged assailant had had no contact and may not have even known each other, Hedgpeth said.
Some students said Robb had been threatening some kind of violent action in notes and telephone calls to friends. Hedgpeth said he had heard such student reports but did not know if they were true.
The principal closed the school to reporters and there was no general sign of the shooting’s effect on students. Some parents, however, arrived to take their children home.
Ninth-grade student Chuck Hartman, 14, said he has been a classmate of Robb’s since the fourth or fifth grade and knew him as a troubled boy who hates his stepfather and loved fire and guns.
Hartman said he was in an adjacent room when the incident began and his teacher told the class to ″get down and stay away from the windows.″
Another student, Phil Harvey, 14, heard the shot.
″The teacher came in and said to get down, someone’s been shot,″ Harvey said.
The wounded student, also a 15-year-old boy, was in fair condition with a wound to the left side of the face that did not appear to be serious, said Fran Tardiff, spokeswoman at University of California Irvine Medical Center.
The Anaheim Union School District sent psychologists to counsel troubled students, said Lee Kellogg, assistant district superintendent.
″We’re encouraging students to remain in class,″ Kellogg said.
The school is 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles.