Scott Chandler
Lenny Ignelzi  /  AP
Scott Chandler, a resident of the neighborhood surrounding Kelly Elementary School, is one of the citizens who tackled a suspected shooter in Carlsbad, Calif.
By
updated 10/9/2010 12:53:49 PM ET 2010-10-09T16:53:49

Scott Chandler stood over the lone gunman after he was tackled near the elementary school and yelled: "Why are you shooting kids?"

Chandler, a professional surfer who lives across the street from Kelly Elementary School, never got an answer from the suspect following the shooting around noon Friday.

Police say that minutes earlier suspect had parked his car, jumped a school fence and fired on the playground in the beach community north of San Diego, shooting two students in their right arms.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. OWN via Getty Images
      From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

The students, ages 6 and 7, are expected to make full recoveries, Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Cain said.

The gunman continued firing rounds as construction workers chased him. At one point, construction worker Carlos Partida told KGTV-TV that he ran to his truck and drove into the gunman to stop him.

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

Meanwhile, teachers and school administrators corralled the screaming children into classrooms.

The suspect, Brendan L. O'Rourke, 41, was arrested on suspicion of six counts of attempted murder and numerous weapons violations, Cain said. He is believed to have acted alone.

Cain said he was refusing to answer their questions. Cain said a propane tank was found near his car and a gas canister was also found on the school playground.

He said police do not know what he intended to do or why he opened fire.

"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."

Parents, like Chandler, shudder to think of what could have happened if the man had not been stopped.

    1. Hoffman withdrew $1,200 hours before death: sources

      Philip Seymour Hoffman withdrew a total of $1,200 from an ATM at a supermarket near his New York City apartment the night before he was found lifeless in his bathroom with a syringe still in his left arm, sources told NBC News.

    2. NYC mayor will skip St. Pat's parade over gay ban
    3. Indiana man back home 18 years after abduction
    4. 32 states in the path of another wild storm
    5. Judge vows quick ruling on Va. marriage ban

"He had some kind of mission he was on and he didn't complete it," Chandler said.

Story: 2 students shot at Calif. elementary school

Chandler was repairing a Jet Ski in his driveway when he heard two loud bangs and saw children running and screaming. He ran downhill in his flip-flops and took cover behind some tall Eucalyptus trees while he called 911. He saw several men struggling on the side of the road.

He approached the crowd after realizing the school's construction workers were pinning down the man. Chandler said he saw bullets fall out of the suspect's pocket.

"I just started yelling him, 'Why are you shooting kids?'" Chandler said. "His face was in the dirt, his teeth were in the dirt, and he just grunted."

Image: School shooting scene
Hayne Palmour IV  /  AP
A injured student is wheeled to a helicopter after a lone gunman came on to the campus of nearby Kelly Elementary School on Friday.

Robert Speck, 43, said he raced over to his son's school after hearing the news. He found the school on lockdown. He and scores of other parents waited anxiously for their children in a nearby park.

"It was total panic not knowing what was going on and if our children were OK," Speck, 43, said after reuniting with his son, Kenny.

The 6-year-old said he was not scared but others in his class cried as they listened to the gunshots after running into the classroom for cover.

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

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments