15 Sep 2014
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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.

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

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.

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