"He started having these flashes and thinking of taking a gun to school," said Scott. "If he did that then people would know that he was really tough and really strong, and that he could fight for himself and fend for himself and people would leave him alone."
Friends Egged Him On
Williams told at least a dozen fellow students about his plan to bring a gun to school. "I was hoping somebody would tell somebody," he told Primetime. But instead of talking to school authorities, the friends in his group encouraged him. "I was already really depressed about everything and then like everybody's egging me on, egging me on," he said. "And then it was — I felt like I didn't have anything to lose. I would just go ahead and go through with it."
So on the morning of March 5, 2001, Williams took one his father's guns, an eight-shot .22-caliber revolver, and put it in his backpack, along with a toy monkey named Spunky his older brother had given him when he was around 9. He took 40 bullets with him.
Around 9:20 a.m., Williams loaded the revolver in a bathroom stall and opened fire, killing Zuckor with a bullet to the head and hitting another student, Trevor Edwards, 17, in the neck. When Edwards, who survived, looked up at Williams and asked why him, Williams told him to shut up.
Then Williams walked out of the bathroom into the school's quad and fired indiscriminately, hitting 11 more students and the two adults. Randy Gordon, 17, died after being shot in the back. Gordon's best friend, Raymond Serrato, was standing next to him and was also shot. Serrato remembers seeing the expression on Williams' face through the smoke from his gun just before he shot him: "There's a face smiling. Grinning. Just staring right at me."
Williams emptied the revolver three times, returning to the bathroom each time to reload. When sheriff's deputies entered the bathroom after he had loaded the gun a fourth time, he put down his gun and calmly surrendered.
Williams said he felt a sensation of detachment as he shot. "I don't think crazy is the right word," he said. "It's, like, an out-of-body experience — when I was in my body I was out of my body at the same time.... It didn't feel like it was actually me doing it."
In a previously unreleased videotape of his initial police interview, Williams at first appears cold, casual, and matter of fact. "I didn't want anybody to die, but if they did, then oh well," he told detectives. He described his rampage as "just a stupid thing," adding. "I wish I never did it."
Williams told Primetime that the significance of what he had done did not hit him until midway through the interview. The tape shows that at one point he suddenly broke down and started sobbing, telling the police, "It's my fault. I'm the one who brought the gun to school."
Scott believes Williams wanted to show his peers that he was "brave and strong" enough to bring a gun to school, but hoped he would be caught before he went through with the shooting.
During Williams' sentencing hearing, prosecutors argued that the bullying he suffered was not severe enough to justify his actions. Rather, they said, he was trying to impress his new friends. "He wanted to become the bully of the crowd of bullies," prosecutor Kris Anton told the court. Anton acknowledged that his friends had egged him on, but said, "He's the one that's ultimately to blame here... he's the one that decided to go through with it."
Doing Time Among Bullies