Survivors of NorCal school shooting remember tragedy

Survivors of NorCal school shooting remember tragedy

It was one of the worst shooting sprees in the U.S. at the time -- a deadly attack at a Yuba County high school that claimed the lives of a teacher and three students.

On the 25th anniversary, survivors of the attack on Lindhurst High School spoke about the eight hours of terror they endured.

Lindhurst High teacher Robert Ledford was on campus May 1, 1992, when gunman and high school dropout Eric Houston stormed into the school with a .22 caliber rifle and a shotgun.

“He shot into this room and killed Jason White,” Ledford said.

Jason White, 19, died that day, along with 16-year-old Beamon Hill.

“I hid right here, and I saw him shoot into my room," Ledford recalled. "And that’s when he killed Beamon."

Ledford shares the story about the shooting and hostage situation with his students every May 1. He wants them to remember Beamon Hill, who died saving another student, Angela Welch.

“(Beamon) had shoved (Angela) out of the line of fire, and he died a hero’s death,” Ledford said. “I make sure that the students know that Beamon Hill was a true hero.”

Houston also killed 17-year-old Judy Davis, whose cousin Lynn Davis was held hostage that day for 8 hours.

“(Houston) told us that if we had tried to leave from the library that he would shoot us,” Lynn Davis recalled.

Davis survived that day, but teacher Robert Brens did not. He was Houston’s first target.

And then, Houston took aim at Ledford.

“As he got close to me, he shot at me -- and, by the grace of God, I was not hit,” Ledford said.

In all, four people died and 10 others were injured before Houston finally surrendered.

Davis laid flowers at the school memorial honoring her cousin and those who died. She hopes Houston will pay the ultimate penalty.

“We're still looking forward to the day when we get that phone call to let us know that his execution has been scheduled,” she said.

As for Ledford, he is personally opposed to the death penalty, but he said he wants to honor the wishes of his friend Robert Brens, who told Ledford of a premonition he had before he died.

“'I'm very fearful that one day one of these students might harm me or even kill me,'” Ledford said quoting Brens. Ledford added that Brens had told him “'And if some day this were ever to happen to me, please make sure that the death penalty be put on this person.'”

Houston was said to be despondent about losing his job after dropping out of high school and carried a grudge against teacher Robert Brens, whose class he failed.

Houston was convicted of all four counts of murder. He has been assigned to death row at San Quentin State Prison since 1993. He was 20 years old at the time of the crime -- and is now 45.

The entire town of Olivehurst was devastated by the tragedy. It ripped the heart out of the small farming community located some 40 miles north of Sacramento. There is now a memorial on campus for people to remember those who died.

Today, Lindhurst High School has much to be proud of. Nearly 94 percent of its students graduate, and many go on to Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC and other schools. The school also has a strong partnership with Yuba College.