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Santana High School shooting: 20 years later

Posted at 9:51 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 13:17:31-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — When the shooting started at Santana High School the morning of March 5, 2001, San Diego County Deputy Sheriff Jack Smith was just a few blocks away.

"Pandemonium, it was just chaotic and you could hear the shots," Smith said.

Smith says through the chaos on campus, terrified students pointed him towards a boys bathroom where the shots seemed to be coming from.

Weapon drawn, he went in, finding the shooter in the middle of reloading.

"He had the chamber open and he was putting bullets into it, when I identified myself told him to drop the weapon he immediately dropped it on the floor with a big ol clang," Smith said.

In that same bathroom, Deputy Smith says there were two boys who'd been shot, one still conscious.

"He had a bullet wound to the neck and I said who shot you? who shot you? And he said Andy Williams shot me," said Smith.

Andy Williams, 15, was arrested that day and later convicted of two counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

In the years since we've unfortunately seen many more school shootings and now law enforcement and schools train in how to deal with an active shooter.

But back then Deputy Smith says he only knew he had to stop what was happening.

"The law enforcement officer has to be the one calm in the storm, they gotta be able to think when everybody else is crying and screaming you've gotta work through that," Smith said.

Williams is currently serving a sentence of 50 years to life in a northern California prison.