Calif. School Shooter Said Traumatized by Bullying
A former girlfriend of Charles Andrew Williams, the Santana High School
student who opened fire at his Santee, Calif., school, said the 15-year-old
was traumatized by bullying, Reuters reported March 8.
According to Kathleen Seek, before Williams moved to California from his home
in rural Maryland, he was popular and had a lot of friends. Seek described
Williams as gentle and thoughtful.
"He was an excellent young man. He stuck out for anyone who was hurting. If
you were down he would ask what was wrong. He would put himself in a position
to look stupid just so that someone could smile, so that someone could be
happy," said Seek.
She added, "Everyone loved him. You didn't have a reason not to. You couldn't
help but love him."
Her description of Williams was much different than the image of a boy who
opened fire in his California high school, killing two students and wounding
13 others. Reports indicate that students at Santana teased Williams about
his slender physique, often calling him a "freak," "dork," and a "nerd."
"He was different. They didn't take the time to get to know him," said Seek.
"They just accused him of being some kind of person he wasn't. He's a good
Seek's mother, Mary Nederlander, added, "Andy was a joy to everyone. He was
on the football team. He had an unbelievable amount of friends. He just has a
gentle, kind heart. The person I saw on TV in the police car was empty. That
wasn't the boy who came and ate dinner at our house and called me mom."
While she could not excuse Williams for shooting his classmates, Nederlander
said his actions may have been a result of the pain he was in over the
"He e-mailed us and told us that he just wanted to come home and that it was
just awful over there. They were teasing him, calling him 'country boy.' He
didn't dress right; he didn't look right. He was skinny, they called him
gay," she said.
"He was under a lot of mental torture and just wanted to come home. When he
visited for summer, he stood in my house and he cried and said he did not
want to go back to California because of all the teasing and the ridicule he
was feeling," Nederlander added.