Image: At Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad, Calif.
Hayne Palmour `  /  North County Times / Zuma Press
A woman holds a child as parents gather Friday after a lone gunman came on to Kelly Elementary School and fired shots at students in Carlsbad, Calif.
NBC News and news services
updated 10/8/2010 9:27:17 PM ET 2010-10-09T01:27:17

A gunman opened fire at a San Diego-area elementary school Friday, wounding two children before he was tackled by bystanders and taken into custody, officials said.

The children suffered minor graze wounds to their arms, police said.

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The suspect parked his car around noon, jumped a fence and opened fire as he walked across campus at Kelly Elementary School, said Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Cain said. The students, ages 6 and 7, were not seriously injured.

The suspect, a man in his 40s or 50s whose name was not released, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Cain said. He is believed to have acted alone.

"He is possibly a transient who lives in the area," Cain said. "He is not cooperating with the investigation. He probably has some mental health issues."

Construction worker Carlos Partida told KGTV-TV that he ran to his truck after he saw the suspect leave the playground.

"I hit him with my truck," he said.

Student Kenny Speck, 6, said he heard classmates crying.

"I heard a gunshot and I ran to Room 23," said Speck. "Some kids went over the fence."

Speck's parents said it could have been so much worse.

"I am so grateful to the construction workers,"  said Tamera Wleklinski, Speck's mother. "They deserve lunch and free donuts for the rest of the year."

Witness Jordan Sears told the Union-Tribune the suspect was holding a jack-'o-lantern "and running and shooting at something." Sears recalled: "First there was screaming, then there was silence."

Police recovered a box of bullets stuffed inside the gunman's pants, NBC station KNSD said. He also had brought a 5-gallon gas can with him as well. A propane tank was found by the suspect's car.

Cain told KNSD the alleged shooter was a "gray-haired" man who gave officers three names, including a woman's name. Cain said the names raise obvious questions about the man's mental state.

Anguished parents who rushed to the school to pick up their children were kept blocks away from the scene.

Scott Chandler, who lives across the street from the school, told KNSD that he helped capture the shooting suspect. He said that he and a couple of construction workers tackled the man.

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"I believe he ran out of bullets, then ran to a fence, chased by a couple guys," said Chandler.

The suspect was not speaking clearly after he was tackled, Chandler said.

Chandler also told KNSD that he helped officers to recover the weapon.

"I pointed out where the weapon was — got it about 15 feet away," Chandler said, describing the gun as a "long-barrel .38."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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