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Police Arrest Suspected Gunman Who Shot Up San Jose Elementary School

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A suspected gunman is behind bars Tuesday night, for allegedly firing shots at a San Jose elementary school.

The suspect, armed with a shotgun, riddled the school with bullets early Tuesday before a neighbor chased him off.

Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Nicholas O'Connor.

Nicholas O'Connor mug shot
Nicholas O'Connor mug shot (San Jose Police Department)

San Jose police said the incident took place at around 4 a.m. at Booksin Elementary School in the city's Willow Glen neighborhood.

The neighbor -- Karen Scherrer -- called 911 from her cell phone reporting a man with a gun firing shots at the school. Even though the 911 operator told her not to go the school, Scherrer ran toward the sound of gunfire.

"You're not going to get away with this," said Scherrer of what she was thinking as she ran toward the school. "I didn't have any thought process after that."

She yelled at the man, who then turned and fled the scene.

"I know it was really, really dumb," she said. "But more than anything I wanted to get a good look at him and give a good description [to police]."

But the gunman was too fast and Scherrer said she didn't get a look at his face.

The shooting spree left two surveillance cameras riddled with bullets and also several bullet holes on the outside wall of the school's library.

Thankfully, the shooting took place when the school was empty. It had yet to be determined if it would open for classes on Tuesday.

San Jose police cordoned off the neighborhood, but an intense search failed to uncover the gunman.

However, about a block from the school, police recovered an over-and-under style shotgun from a backyard.

Police searched the neighborhood with dogs and recovered neighbor's home surveillance video hoping to identify the shooter.

It was the second time in two weeks that someone has shot up Booksin Elementary. Both incidents happened overnight when no one was there.

"You usually hear about this on TV about other schools or other places," said parent Jennifer Lowe. "But it's right here, so it's a little scary."

Lowe dropped her daughter off for school after police and district officials said the campus was safe.

Officers stayed on campus throughout the day.

"I'm just glad that none of the kids were there," said Lowe.

School officials said campus security cameras kept recording despite being hit with buckshot. They are sharing the evidence with police.

Officials are still trying to determine if the same person is responsible for both shootings.

"At this point, it's still strictly a case of vandalism. Granted, it's with a gun, so that's very, very concerning.  It's not like your normal tagging," said Peter Allen with the San Jose Unified School District. "But this happened off hours.  There was no threat to life, other than the shooter's own.  We just want people to know that we're keeping their kids as safe as possible."

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