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.