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School shooter sentenced to life in prison

VISTA — The lone gunman who fired six bullets into a crowded elementary school playground when about 230 children were at recess, injuring two girls, was sentenced April 20 to life in prison.Oceanside resident Brendan Liam O’Rourke, 42, was convicted in March of seven counts each of premeditated attempted murder and assault with a firearm for the Oct. 8, 2010, shooting at Kelly Elementary School in Carlsbad.

Vista Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz sentenced him to 189 years to life in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan was successful in requesting the maximum sentence.

She later said that the sentencing reflects justice and that the community, especially those affiliated with Kelly Elementary, can now feel a sense of peace with “The finality that it’s really over and Mr. O’Rourke will be kept away from society.”

Jurors found O’Rourke to be sane at the time of the shooting, during which he hopped the fence at lunchtime with a loaded .357 Magnum, a gas can and extra ammunition and terrorized children and staff members.

At the sentencing the judge said that the two second-graders who were wounded and who testified at the trial were an inspiration to everyone involved.

Three construction workers who were on the school’s site rebuilding the cafeteria kitchen when the shooting occurred were able to halt the attack by tackling O’Rourke to the ground.

Police arrived and arrested O’Rourke.

The defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Dan Segura, told the jury that his client suffered from delusions and a mental disease, and that he believed his former employer, AIG, was tracking him with a satellite and involved in a conspiracy against him.