De Anza College pitches in for campus hero

August 22, 2010 2:00:10 PM PDT
De Anza College is reaching out to help a woman who helped prevent a campus bombing nine years ago.

In 2001, Kelly Bennett called police with information that led to the arrest of a young man before the attack could be carried out. Now, De Anza College is helping her.

She suffers from a rare form of cancer that leaves her with double vision and severe headaches. On Saturday night, a private fundraiser was held on campus to collect donations for her medical bills.

The bombs were supposed to go off in one specific building on campus, and when Bennett's mother asked De Anza officials about hosting a party there for Kelly, their answer was immediate.

"When I told De Anza what was happening, they said to me, 'This is where Kelly needs to be. She saved us. We want to save her,'" Lori Bennett recalled.

Kelly was developing pictures for Longs Drugs in 2001 when she came across some disturbing images of pipe bombs and guns. She decided to call the police.

"No question in my mind. The first picture, I knew what I was going to do, I was going to call police," she said nine years ago.

Police went to the home of 19-year-old Al DeGuzman and found the weapons along with a plan that included setting off bombs in the campus center during lunchtime, and shooting at students from the roof as they ran for safety.

Kelly made the discovery and the phone call to police the night before the attack was scheduled to take place.

"ATF and FBI had said that they thought she saved about 150, 250 lives, at least 1,400 injuries," Lori said.

Now, Kelly's life is under attack. She has a rare brain tumor at the base of her skull and needs help financing her treatment. So, her friends and family held a fundraiser for her Saturday night at De Anza College.

"It's just totally amazing to me and I'm so thankful because they haven't forgotten her," Lori said.

They sold 450 tickets to the event. Some in the crowd had never met Kelly, but are grateful for what she did for their campus.

"It traumatized everybody who was here, that what could've, almost happened. You know it was, we all felt like we had kind of just missed something, and we owe it to her, and we're very thankful for it," said former student Susan Grill.

Kelly was not at the fundraiser. Her mother says it was just too overwhelming for her.

DeGuzman was sentenced to 80 years in prison. He committed suicide in 2004.


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