clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

5 injured when gunfire rocks 2nd California high school

EL CAJON, Calif. — Gunfire erupted at another high school in the hills east of San Diego, less than a month after two students were killed in a school shooting a few miles away.

Police say an 18-year-old senior armed with a shotgun and handgun opened fire at the school Thursday, hitting at least three students and two teachers with shotgun pellets.

The most serious injuries were sustained by the suspect, who was shot in the jaw and buttocks in a gun battle with a campus officer, said Police Capt. Bill McClurg.

At the time, police and district officials were at a nearby middle school investigating graffiti that threatened an attack there.

"All of a sudden we heard shots and glass breaking," said William Ditzler, 16, who was in the Granite Hills High School office when he spotted the gunman through a window.

"I was under the desk," Ditzler said. "I was just praying that he wouldn't walk through the door."

Junior Chris Wesley said the gunman fired at least eight shots and reloaded his weapon during the shooting.

Police said the shooter, identified as Jason Hoffman, had a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun, which prosecutors said came from Hoffman's home.

District Attorney Paul Pfingst said prosecutors were considering a range of charges, from assault to attempted murder. Because of Hoffman's injuries, the arraignment will be delayed, he said.

The motive for the attack wasn't clear.

"There were no warning signs," said senior Travis Peters, who shared an algebra class with Hoffman. "He wasn't an outcast, no one made fun of him. As far as I know, he was like every other kid."

Jiovani Guerrero, a junior who went to Granite Hills with Hoffman last year, said Hoffman may have been upset about not getting enough credits to graduate this spring.

"He was supposed to graduate this spring, but that wasn't going to happen," Guerrero said.

"The thing I got from him was that he never had friends," said Andrew Dunkel, 18, a senior who has known Hoffman since elementary school and described him as always appearing upset.

The shooting, at about 1 p.m., occurred the day after someone sprayed graffiti outside a middle school, threatening a shooting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the Grossmont Union High School District. Police were investigating that threat when the shooting at Granite occurred.

The violence sent a new jolt of fear through communities still shaken by the March 5 rampage seven miles away at Santana High, where a 15-year-old student allegedly killed two classmates and injured 13 others.

"I think everyone was kind of in shock because it happened again," said Aaron Novotny, a Santana freshman.

Andy Yafuso, 15, was the only victim still hospitalized today. He was recovering from pellet wounds to his chest, arm and head, said Dr. Frank Kennedy.