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20 Years since the deadly high school shooting in East County

Two teens were killed by another student at Santana High School in Santee on this day in 2001.

SANTEE, Calif. — Two sheriffs detectives look back on March 5th, 2001, when a student opened fire on the campus of Santana High School.

"The call said a student has been shot and I’ll never forget that," said Ali Perez, Retired Sheriff's Department Detective.

It has been 20 years since the Santana High School shooting where a 15-year-old student shot and killed two other students, 17-year-old Randy Gordan and 14-year-old Bryan Zuckor and wounded 13 others.

“It has been 20 years, but not a day goes by I don’t drive by here and remember the two young men that lost their lives and think about them and their families all the time," said Perez.

Retired sheriff’s detective, Ali Perez, and current detective, Jess Allensworth, were among the eight deputies who unanimously agreed to not wait for SWAT that fateful day and rushed into the line of fire to help.

“I knew that all of us are one of us we get shot but there were kids getting shot and you got to do what you gotta do," said Perez.

Detective Perez arrested the shooter about three minutes after arriving on campus.

It was because of their collective decision to go in and not wait that lives were saved. 

"Oh no doubt more students would’ve been shot, injured, killed," said Detective Jess Allensworth, San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

The way this group of heroes responded became known as IARD or immediate action, rapid deployment. In other words, don't wait - help right away.

“It is one of those things, time is of the essence," said Allensworth.

It is still hard for Kristen Dare to talk about that fateful day.

"As we heard the noises and the screams and things going on. I think my mind immediately went to, this is fake," said Dare.

Dare was a junior, just 15 years old.

"There was a campus supervisor who was shot and he was laying on the ground," said Dare.

Dare was able to run off campus uninjured. 

Perez and Allensworth were not injured that day either and have a resonating message to the community.

 "The people that do these things, they don’t have a glory. When it’s all over they don’t have glory, they have regrets," said Allensworth.

"We have to watch and mentor because if somebody could’ve gotten to the shooter when he was just a kid before, and poured some love and attention into him, maybe things would’ve been different," said Perez.


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