Teacher tackles boy in bomb vest

Teacher Kennet Santana, 35, heard two explosions at San Mateo’s Hillside High and saw a 17-year-old boy in a black tactical vest following fleeing students. With “no time for a lot of thinking,” the English Language Development teacher grabbed the boy.

“I put him in a bear hug and then I decided to flip him and put him on the ground,” he said. “That’s when the thinking came in — I thought — ’If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize to his parents later and if I’m right I’m going to hold this kid down.’” At that moment, a teacher came out of a nearby classroom and Santana told her to go get help. “That’s when the principal (Jeff Gilbert) came with another counselor,” he said. “Between the three of us – the principal took an arm, I held onto an arm and (the counselor) took the legs. We restrained the kid until the police came.” When asked if the young man said anything to him, Santana said: “He said he couldn’t breathe — which was too bad for him I guess.”

“All the while that the teachers and principal are confronting this kid, holding him down and tackling him, he’s got eight live pipe bombs attached to his person,” said San Mateo Police Lt. Mike Brunicardi. Police said the suspect, a former student, also had a two-foot sword and a chain saw. More pipe bombs were found at his home.

No one was injured. It could have gone a different way.

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  1. Mike Curtis says:

    Good job,

    You left out the part where they should have kicked him so hard he would have had three Adam’s Apples.

  2. There are ways to restrain specifically designed not to affect breathing (because believe it or not we have to think of things like that in volatile situations), but I certainly wouldn’t fault them for not knowing/using with this kiddo.

  3. Thank God this ended as well as it did. Bless that teacher, principal and counselor.

  4. Many businesses – grocery stores, banks, etc. – forbid employees from confronting/pursuing thieves and others who threaten the business or customers in any way. Recently, several grocery store and bank employees have been fired for going after folks who have committed crimes on the premises, according to news reports I’ve been reading.

    Teaching is that odd profession where what should be done in these situations is rarely spoken of: heroics are not forbidden but never trained for…and it is expected of, or praised, that teachers put their lives on the line. I don’t mind it so much – we are charged with the care and keeping of other peoples’ children throughout the day after all, and these types of events become more common ever day. But I think it’s interesting to note the teacher had to consider apologizing to the parents in case he was wrong as he was tackling a kid with “eight live pipe bombs attached to his person”.

  5. Robert Wright says:

    Consider apologizing in case he was wrong?

    He would have been fired.

  6. That teacher is amazing. I hope he gets a medal.

    As for the thinking, I once had a summer job working in a secure unit for people with head injuries, which meant I had to intervene in a few fights. It’s weird what goes through your head in the middle of an adrenaline rush. I remember once realising I was in a very dangerous situation, caught between two men both a foot taller than me and both yelling at each other, and my main worry was that I really really did not want to fill in the paperwork needed after a physical fight.

  7. and these types of events become more common ever day

    Oh, really? Can you cite some actual statistics on this?

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Good for the teacher and administrators.
    Yeah, would have been a hoot if the kid had been pretending. Parents would have said it was a prank by a frustrated genius.
    A couple of years ago, a student from MIT went into Logan airport fixed up like this–but all fake–with a couple of pretend detonators in her hands. She seemed honestly offended that people should point guns at her. It appears that Asperger’s Syndrome is more common in engineers.
    I sure hope I can follow this case.