Monday, February 27, 2012
Opening statements are scheduled today in the trial of a man accused of firing a gun at a Carlsbad elementary school and wounding two girls during lunch recess.
Brendan Liam O'Rourke, 42, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to seven felony counts each of premeditated attempted murder and assault with a firearm in the Oct. 8, 2010 shooting at Kelly Elementary School.
If convicted, O'Rourke faces up to 103 years to life in prison.
Authorities said O'Rourke jumped a fence at the school just after noon, carrying a .357 Ruger six-shot revolver, a speed re-loader, extra ammunition, a propane tank, gas can and matches.
He then allegedly fired at least six shots in the direction of children and entered the campus with a plan to kill as many youngsters as he could.
A nearby construction worker who pursued O'Rourke and ultimately helped take him down testified at an earlier hearing that the gunman appeared "crazy'' and had a "disconnected'' look on his face during the rampage.
The two girls wounded in the rampage, ages 6 and 7 at the time, were each shot in one of their arms.
If O'Rourke is found guilty, jurors will then have to decide whether or not he was sane at the time of the shootings.
Unlike the guilt phase of trial, the burden of proof will be on the defense to prove O'Rourke was insane. Defense attorney Dan Segura said four doctors, two appointed by the court, found that his client suffered from severe mental illness.