A Hillsdale High School student and a teacher described the terror and chaos that erupted on the morning that a former student brought a chainsaw, a 10-inch sword and a vest packed with pipe bombs on to the San Mateo campus.
Former sophomore Logan Golden and teacher Michael McCall were among the first witnesses to testify Monday afternoon in the San Mateo County Superior Court trial of Alexander Youshock, according to the Mercury News.
McCall said he initially thought Youshock, then 17, might have been taking part in a school skit when he noticed the defendant in the school hallway with a huge knife in a scabbard on his belt, putting on a tactical jacket stuffed with "silver tubular things." It wasn't until Youshock began trying to start a chainsaw that he realized something was wrong.
"I heard someone trying to start a chainsaw," McCall said. "I grew up in North Carolina near the mountains. I know what a chainsaw sounds like."
McCall testified that a security guard running through the hallway prompted Youshock to light the fuse of one of the bombs and prepare to throw it.
"It wasn't like a firecracker," McCall said. "It was like a bomb with a shockwave that hit you."
Golden, now a student at Peninsula High School in San Bruno, testified that he had stepped outside his chemistry lab to eat breakfast when he saw Youshock crouched over a chainsaw wearing a black vest. Golden said he went back into the classroom but saw Youshock light the wick of a bomb about one half-inch from the bottom and throw it at the female security guard, who was not injured.
Both witnesses testified they heard a second explosion within minutes of the first.
Youshock, who wore a white collared shirt and sweater at Monday's proceedings, sat motionless throughout the testimony. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of exploding a destructive device with the 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.
The defense stated earlier Monday that Youshock suffers from schizophrenia, which prevents him from discerning between reality and paranoid fantasy. He faces life in prison if convicted.