Hillsdale suspect to be charged as adult

August 26, 2009 11:46:40 AM PDT
The San Mateo County district attorney has decided to charge a teenage high school pipe bomber as an adult. The former Hillsdale High School student who terrorized his campus Monday now has a court appearance this afternoon.

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Students went back to class Wednesday and many parents chose to take their kids to school just to make sure of things. The school day began at 8:00 a.m. with an assembly designed to put the minds of staff and students at ease. They were told about armed guards present at the school for their physical safety as well as counselors available for their mental health.

It seemed to be working.

"I'm shocked that it happened at my school, but I'm not nervous to go back," said student Kayla Riessen.

Other students were a little more nervous about getting back to class.

"I think people are going to be nervous though. It's kind of scary, but I know the teachers handled it well. It's going to be fine," said student Tommy McKown.

Both students and parents agree the attack did nothing to shake their confidence in the school or the staff.

"My husband and I talked to our daughter about how she felt about coming back, and she was comfortable. And, this morning, she had on her Hillsdale colors and her Hillsdale softball shirt and said, 'You know, I'm fine,'" one parent told ABC7.

Police say "feeling fine" was not what 17-year-old Alex Youshock had in mind on Monday. They say he walked into Hillsdale High with ten pipe bombs, a chainsaw, a sword and menace on his mind. "It is painfully clear to us that the suspect's sole intent was to kill, injure or commit mayhem, to as many students and school faculty, staff and administrators as possible," said Police Chief Susan Manheimer.

He was tackled by school staff before anyone was hurt. Then, the district launched into protection mode, making there were plenty of police officers and counselors on-hand for the students' first day back.

"I feel safe with all my staff here. They're like supporting us. They're providing counselors for us if we need to talk about it. If it hits me, if I get scared, I have people to go talk to," said Riessen.

"I just want it to get back to normal," Tina DeGrazia told ABC7. "Because, nothing really needs bad news to happen at school."

"A lot of prayer went through this morning. And, that's why I'm walking around the campus, just even praying for students and praying the staff," said parent Clarissa Tom.

Nothing visibly out of the way seemed to be happening at the school Wednesday morning. Now that classes are back in session and things seem to be on the way back to normal, all the attention turns to a court room in Redwood City, where the suspect will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. as an adult, on charges including attempted murder.

LINK: San Mateo Union High School District
LINK: Coping with traumatic events

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