Charles Williams – He was tired of being picked on

Charles Williams

Charles Williams is a convicted American murderer from Maryland. At age 15, he was the perpetrator of the 2001 shooting at Santana High School in which two students were killed and thirteen others wounded.  Charles Andrew “Andy” Williams is currently serving 50 years to life in prison.

Charles Williams

Williams was born to Charles Jeffery and Linda Williams. He has one older brother named Michael. Linda worked for the US Army and was assigned to the Middle East in June 1989. Charles Williams lived the first 8 months of his life with his mother, but seldom saw her after that.

In 1990, the couple divorced. Williams went to live with his father and his brother went to live with their mother. Williams grew up in Maryland, moving twice within the state. In 1999, Williams’s father wanted a change of scenery so he moved them to 29 Palms, California. For the most part, father and son enjoyed a good relationship.

After moving to Santee, California, from 29 Palms, California, Charles Williams felt he was targeted for physical and emotional bullying in school. In an attempt to fit in, he began to spend time with a crowd of skateboarders, with whom he would often participate in activities such as smoking marijuana. Williams was accepted within this peer group, however, at times these individuals also teased or picked on him.

Life Took A Drastic Turn

Charles WilliamsIn February 2001, just before his 15th birthday, Charles Williams received news that one of his best friends from 29 Palms was killed in a bus accident. This was a devastating blow to young Williams. 

Charles Williams spoke on two occasions of his plan to “pull a Columbine” at Santana High, but no reports were ever made of threats to the school. The first occasion was a week before the shooting, the second during the weekend prior to Monday, March 5th.

Just before the shooting, Williams had two skateboards stolen from him. He acquired his weapon, an Arminius .22-cal. revolver, from the locked gun cabinet in his apartment (the gun belonged to Williams’s father). 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 his friends dared him to.

March 5th

On Monday, March 5, 2001 at 9:20 a.m., 15-year-old Charles ‘Andy’ Williams began firing a .22-caliber revolver in a boys’ bathroom at Santana High School, killing two students. He then left the bathroom firing the revolver indiscriminately at other students.

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 Charles aimed the revolver at them and forced them out. As the student and supervisor walked out Williams fired and hit the Ruiz in the back.

Two off-duty police officers who were visiting the school were alerted to the shooting. 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.

Charles Williams Kills Two Students

Charles WilliamsCharles Williams surrendered and was taken into custody. He shot and killed two students, 14-year-old Bryan Zuckor and 17-year-old Randy Gordon. Thirteen others suffered gunshot wounds and were transported to various local hospitals.

On June 20, 2002 Williams, in an effort to avoid a trial, pleaded guilty to all charges against him. On August 15, 2002 a California judge sentenced Charles ‘Andy’ 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 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 Charles Williams was transferred to an adult prison. Currently, there are grass-root efforts to have Williams’s sentence reduced. His supporters argue that the judge was too harsh in sentencing Williams as an adult and did not take into consideration Williams’s age at the time of his offense. They would like to see Charles get a new sentence, but as a juvenile, which would have meant confinement by the California Youth Authority until age 25. His appeals continue while currently incarcerated at Calipatria State prison. 


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