VISTA — The Oceanside man accused in last week’s school shooting in Carlsbad was arraigned Wednesday on multiple attempted murder charges at the Vista branch of San Diego Superior Court.
Dressed in a green jailhouse uniform with short dark hair and a scraggly beard, Brendon Liam O’Rourke, 41, appeared before the court just before 2 p.m. Wednesday and pled not guilty to all charges. He was accompanied by his public defender and waived his right to hear the charges against him.
Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan asked for the bail to be increased and set at $10 million due to the extreme danger posed by O’Rourke. She then went on to describe the events on the playground last Friday.
Stephan said O’Rourke approached three second-grade boys on the playground and fired in their direction, hitting two children on a jungle gym. She also said that when confronted by a recess monitor on the Kelly Elementary School playground, O’Rourke turned and pulled the trigger, but the six-shot .357 Ruger revolver was out of ammunition. He tried to reload the gun with a speed loader, but it was jammed.
This gave a group of nearby construction workers a chance to respond when they heard the shots fired and saw O’Rourke fumbling with the gun. Two workers chased him into the street where he was hit by a car driven by the third worker and subdued until police arrived.
He was briefly taken to Scripps Hospital before being booked into the Vista jail on six counts of attempted murder along with a number of other weapons charges. He has remained jailed since the shooting.
Judge Marshall Hockett granted the request and bail was set at $10 million.
The two second-grade girls who had been shot, ages 6 and 7, suffered through-and-through bullet wounds in the arm and were airlifted to Rady’s Children’s Hospital. One of the girls has been released and attended a ceremony Monday honoring those responsible for O’Rourke’s capture. Trauma counselors from various state and local organizations have arrived at Kelly Elementary to help the students deal with the affects of the shooting.
So far the police have no motive for the shooting but on Friday, Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Kain said O’Rourke “probably has mental health issues.”
Police had been called to O’Rourke’s Oceanside apartment multiple times in past year for noise complaints. The words “Destroy” and “Christians” were found spray-painted on the apartment’s walls when police searched it Saturday. It was also reported he was also convicted of harassment in 2002 in Illinois when he called a woman 228 times over a five-day period.
The preliminary hearings are scheduled to begin Nov. 17. O’Rourke faces 103 years to life if convicted of all charges.