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Students Stunned by Campus Killing

September 19, 1986

BENICIA, Calif. (AP) _ Psychologists on Friday counseled shocked high school students one day after dozens of them witnessed the fatal shooting of a classmate, allegedly by a former boyfriend.

Assistant District Attorney John Coffer said he would decide Monday whether to charge Leonard Rubio, 18, with murder. Rubio was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

Benicia High School students were ″totally caught off guard″ by the shooting Thursday afternoon, said Pierre T. Bidou, police chief in this quiet community about 35 miles from San Francisco.

″This is the first shooting we’ve ever had on school property, at least during the 23 years I’ve been here,″ Bidou said. ″It just goes to show violence knows no boundaries.″

Bidou said dozens of students saw 15-year-old Heather Dunn fall. Most were freshmen or sophomores and ″very much more impressionable″ than older students, he said.

Bidou said Rubio, who had graduated from the school last June, was waiting for Ms. Dunn and they began a quiet argument about breaking up their summer- long romance. Police said Ms. Dunn apparently had begun dating someone else.

″Evidently, they had been arguing before,″ Bidou said.

As the argument grew more heated, Rubio pulled a .38-caliber pistol from his jacket and fired one shot into Ms. Dunn, Bidou said.

″I think he just lost it,″ said police Capt. Dennis Gard. ″It was his girlfriend. He loved her a lot, and it just got out of control.″

As students ran for help, Rubio dropped the gun and took Ms. Dunn into his arms, witnesses said.

″When we arrived, students were gathered around them,″ Gard said. ″Rubio was holding her in his arms and saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it.’ The gun was laying on the ground next to them.″

Student Shon Scism said Rubio ″was crying and saying he didn’t know it was loaded.″ The gun belonged to Rubio’s father, police said.

Principal Laura Stephenson said Rubio was a personable student who had played football. Gard said Rubio had planned to enroll at the University of California at Davis next week, but some students said he had decided to join the Army.

School was dismissed shortly after the shooting, but many students stayed around the school, crying and consoling each other.

The atmosphere at school on Friday was grim but orderly, Bidou said. Many studnets and some teachers talked with counselors, he said.

A pep rally for a Friday night football game was canceled, but the game was to be played as scheduled, Bidou said.

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