A 17-year-old boy has been charged as an adult by the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office for allegedly bringing a sword, a chainsaw and 10 homemade pipe bombs onto the Hillsdale High School campus on Monday, an assistant district attorney said today.
The district attorney's office filed eight felony charges against Alexander Robert Youshock this morning. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. in San Mateo County Superior Court, according to Assistant District Attorney Karen Guidotti, who is prosecuting the case.
Youshock is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of exploding a destructive device with intent to commit murder, one count of possession of a destructive device in a public place, one count of use of explosives in an act of terrorism, and two counts of possession of a deadly weapon, Guidotti said.
Alexander Robert Youshock was brought into court in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon to face charges that prosecutors said could land him in prison for the rest of his life. Standing behind a glass partition at his arraignment, his facial expression hardly changed as Judge Mark Forcum ordered that he remain in custody without bail.
He had a wound on his forehead and his right arm was in a bandage. Apparently he got the injuries after being tackled by a teacher.
Youshock was referred to the county's private defender program, and his plea entry was delayed until Sept. 3.
On Monday, the teenager armed with a sword, a chainsaw and 10 pipe bombs walked into the school. He detonated two bombs before being taken down by two teachers and the principal.
No one was hurt in the incident, which has attracted national attention.
Classes were canceled Tuesday but are back in session Wednesday. Teachers, students and others first gathered to discuss the incident in the morning, then restarted classes midday.
Classmates say Youshock dropped out of school last year and was a quiet kid who skipped a lot of classes. When he did attend school, they say, he didn't seem interested.
Teacher Kennet Santana, 35, who is one of a number of Hillsdale staffers being hailed as heroes by police, said he was walking cautiously toward the disruption on Monday morning when he found himself face to face with the boy.
"He had a black tactical vest on with lots of pockets," Santana said by phone Tuesday. "We were maybe six feet away from each other at this point; we're talking seconds, there was not time for a lot of thinking."
Santana said the boy could have run toward the street to escape, but instead chose to follow the fleeing students.
"He was trying to go towards the kids, he could have exited to the street," Santana said. "He was trying to go towards the drama."
"I decided to close distance and bear hugged him and restrained his arms. We were face-to-face, chest-to-chest."
"The teachers acted heroically and risked their own lives," said San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi. "(They) were not taking into consideration their personal safety, they were taking the greater good into mind to save 1,270 students and about 100 school staff members.
"The potential for this incident -- 10 pipe bombs, a 2-foot sword and a chain saw -- indicate this could have been catastrophic" Brunicardi said.
Agents from the Agency of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms searched his home and said they found bomb-making material.
"They did find materials consistent with making explosives, specifically pipe bombs," Brunicardi said.
Police flooded the campus of Hillsdale High School in San Mateo Monday morning. Students left the area by the hundreds after authorities canceled classes for the day following the explosions.
Police were called to the school just after 8 a.m. after reports that someone brought a gun on campus. While police were on their way, they heard reports of an explosion.
Santana said the boy did not struggle, only saying "Let me go" after he'd been held.
"He was not struggling, it was almost like he was defeated," he said.
"We had more people running to the explosion than we had running away from the explosion," principal Jeff Gilbert said. "So I think that speaks to the staff and just what they feel about the students."