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Charles Andrew Williams
Born February 8, 1986 (1986-02-08) (age 23)
Frederick, Maryland, U.S.A
Charge(s) murder, aggravated assault
Penalty 50 years to life in prison
Status Incarcerated
Parents Charles Jeffery and Linda Williams

Charles Andrew "Andy" Williams (born February 8, 1986) was an American teenager who perpetrated the shooting at Santana High School on March 5, 2001. In the shooting two students were killed and thirteen others were wounded. Williams is currently serving 50 years in prison.


Early years

Williams was born at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Frederick, Maryland to Charles Jeffery and Linda Williams. He was born about two weeks premature and was delivered by C-section. His brother Michael was born in 1981. He lived with his parents and brother in an apartment in Frederick the first eight months of his life, before moving to the Fort Detrick area. His mother was a soldier in the United States Army, and was stationed at the Army Medical Research & Material Command Center in Fort Detrick before being assigned to the Middle East in June 1989. Andy's parents separated that Christmas and subsequently divorced in 1990. Williams was raised by his father and his brother was raised by their mother. He seldom saw his mother after the separation. Williams later moved with his father to Hagerstown, Maryland in 1991, before returning to Frederick one year later. He attended Brunswick public schools including Brunswick Middle School.

In August 1999, Charles' father wanted a change of scenery and moved with his son to Twentynine Palms, California. Charles lived near his paternal grandparents in Twentynine Palms, before he would settle in Santee, California the following summer. In February 2001, less than one week before his 15th birthday, Williams had learned that one of his best friends from Twentynine Palms was killed in a bus accident.


High school

Williams attended Santana High School in Santee, where he was allegedly bullied by fellow students.[1] He began to spend time with a crowd of skateboarders. Williams was accepted within this peer group; however, at times these individuals also bullied him.

Williams spoke on two occasions of his plan to "pull a Columbine" at Santana High School, but no reports were ever made of these threats to the school. The first occasion was a week before the shooting, the second during the weekend prior to March 5. Before the shooting, Williams had two skateboards stolen from him. He took his father's Arminius .22 caliber revolver, from the locked gun cabinet in their apartment. After his arrest, he told investigators that he was "tired of being bullied." On the way to juvenile hall, Williams said that he did it because he was dared to by his friends.

The shooting

On Monday, March 5, 2001 at 9:20 a.m., Williams entered a boys' bathroom at Santana High School and fatally shot a freshman. He then left the bathroom and began firing the revolver indiscriminately at other students, killing another. According to one witness, Williams repeatedly walked out of the bathroom, fired shots, then went back into the bathroom. The scene soon turned chaotic as students and teachers ducked or scrambled to safety. Williams reloaded his revolver at least once. A student teacher and campus security supervisor Peter Ruiz walked into the bathroom to try to stop Williams, but Williams aimed the revolver at them and forced them out. As the student and supervisor walked out, Williams fired and hit Ruiz in the back. Two off-duty police officers who were visiting the school were alerted to the shooting; however, they were at different ends of the school. One of them approached the bathroom and called for backup. Police officers quickly arrived and charged the bathroom; they discovered Williams kneeling on the floor with the weapon in his hands. He told officers that he was by himself.

Williams surrendered and was taken into custody. The two students that were killed were 14-year-old Bryan Zuckor and 17-year-old Randy Gordon.[2] Eleven students and two school supervisors suffered gunshot wounds and were treated at either University of California, San Diego Medical Center or Children's Hospital.[1] The San Diego SWAT team was called to "assess and clear" the scene of the shooting.[1]

Linkin Park

Following the shooting, friends of Williams said on NBC's Today that Williams was a huge fan of the rock band Linkin Park. The Today host then read the lyrics "Cause I'm one step closer to the edge, and I'm about to break" from "One Step Closer", one of Williams's favorite tracks on the band's album Hybrid Theory. The supposed connection between the shooting spree and Linkin Park was subsequently widely reported in the media.

In an official statement, Linkin Park stated that "Like everybody else, we are extremely saddened by these events and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims". They denied responsibility, commenting that the type of music a murderer listens to has no relation to the reasoning behind his actions. "You might as well say, it's because he ate mayonnaise that day", frontman Chester Bennington commented. Bennington also stated that "There's not enough attention paid to the problems of sensitive young men in our society." [3]


On June 20, 2002, Williams pleaded guilty to all charges against him in an effort to avoid trial.[4] On August 15, 2002, a California judge sentenced Williams, as an adult, to 50-years to life in prison, and ordered him to serve his time in the Youth Offender Program at CCI, Tehachapi (since closed) until his 18th birthday, at which time he would be transferred to adult prison. Williams was given credit for the 529 days that he had served in juvenile hall, fined $10,000.00 and ordered to pay restitution to the Victims Restitution Fund. At his sentencing, Williams apologized and expressed remorse for his actions. On March 1, 2004, he was transferred to an adult prison.

Currently there are grass-root efforts to have Williams' sentence reduced. His supporters argue that the judge was too harsh in sentencing Williams as an adult and did not take into consideration Williams' age at the time of his offense. They would like to see Williams get a re-trial, but as a juvenile, which would have meant confinement by the California Youth Authority until age 25. His appeals continue while currently incarcerated in the Special Needs Unit at Calipatria State prison.


  1. ^ a b c 2 dead at Santee high school
  2. ^ PrimeNews coverage of Santana High School shooting
  3. ^ Graham, Ben, Linkin Park: The Unauthorised Biography in Words and Pictures." 31
  4. ^ Teen stands accused of murder

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