OLIVEHURST — Almost 26 years ago, a teacher and three students were killed at Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst.
The shooter, a former student, was upset after losing his job and claimed his former civics teacher failed him.
“My secretary called me and told me that there was a couple of shots fired at the high school,” said Gary Tindel, a former Yuba County sheriff.
Tindel remembers May 1, 1992 as one of the toughest days of his career. Four people were killed and 12 more were wounded by the gunfire.
“When I got there I was totally in awe,” Tindel said. “The parking lot was full with police cars, fire trucks, ambulances.”
The shooter, former student Eric Houston, had taken hostages.
“Like a hostage crisis from, like, TV. There’s SWAT team and guns,” said Kimberley Dukes.
Dukes was at McKinney Junior High at the time but remembers the fear of realizing her brother Dean was at Lindhurst.
“I just thought he was going to die,” Dukes told FOX40.
“So we took over the principal’s office and set it up as our command center, was there for the next eight hours,” Tindel said.
Tindel says 150 students and teachers were either held hostage or hiding in closets and classrooms. Fortunately, Dukes’ brother was not one of them.
“We finally got a phone call from him and his best friend that they had actually skipped class and they didn’t know what was going on,” Dukes said.
Meanwhile, Tindel and his deputies didn’t want to tell the media Houston had killed people, just in case he was watching TV.
“It could have been a lot worse, had he known and said, ‘Well I’ve already killed three, I might as well kill 30 more,’” Tindel said.
Eventually, Houston gave himself up.
Now, all these years later, neither Dukes nor Tindel ever thought school shootings would become a part of everyday life.
“Why hasn’t it stopped yet? Why haven’t we done anything? It’s been 26 years,” Dukes said.
Dukes believes sensible gun control is the best solution, but Tindel feels differently.
“I think teachers should be armed if they want to be,” Tindel said. “If they’re trained to carry a firearm and shoot properly I think that that could be a deterrent, you know?”
There is still a teacher who works at Lindhurst who was there that day. He didn’t want to speak on camera, but his principal told FOX40 that every time there’s another school shooting somewhere else it re-opens old wounds.
Huston, who was 20-years-old at the time, is now 46 and is still on death row at San Quentin, where he’s been since 1993.