The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Ballistics expert says handgun was likely cause of bullet holes in Life Sciences Building window

The two bullet holes on the upper edges of a window pane in Life Sciences Room 105. The bullets partially shattered the window and ripped apart the fabrics used to block sunlight in the classroom. Photo credit: Emma DiMaggio

Two bullet holes were found late November 2017 in the window of Life Sciences Room 105. Officials from the El Camino Police Department claimed the holes came from a pellet gun, though a more in depth investigation shows otherwise.

“There’s no way that it was a pellet gun that did that. That’s completely impossible (that) that’s a pellet gun (hole),” Charles Calleja, 22, automotive tech major with a certificate in advanced ballistics and reloading, said.

Responding to this, police chief Michael Trevis said, “I respect his opinion, and based on my observations and the discussions I had with my officers, it just happens to be my opinion that it could have been a cone shaped pellet. I say could have, anything is a possibility”.

The bullet holes were found Wednesday, Nov. 22 on the Manhattan Beach Boulevard side of the building by Christie Killduff, a lab tech who stated that the bullet holes were approximately the size of a quarter, and that the glass around the entry holes had shattered.

“Think of a BB, a little plastic BB, that’s generally what your entry hole will look like because those pellets are generally very small. It wouldn’t leave an entry hole the size of a quarter, that tells me it’s probably gonna be some small-to-mid-caliber handgun round,” Calleja said.

Trevis said that police “found shattered bits of what looked like a sharp lead cone shaped pellet in and around the ceiling panel,” in an email.

Trevis added, “I believe the shots came from a pellet gun or similar type weapon”, and that they currently believe the shots came from a sidewalk near businesses on the northwest corner of Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard, though businesses around the area said they did not see anything.

The general area the shooter seemed to be at the time of the incident Photo credit: Quinn Buffandeau

“In something like a pellet gun, you’re just using compressed air. Now think about it, you’re crossing Manhattan Beach Boulevard, by the point that it makes impact, the pellet would be slowed down enough punching through plate glass (that) by the time that the pellet exits the other side of that glass, it’s likely slowed down to the point where the pellet will come out of the other side either deformed or fragmented in some way. It won’t make a clean hole going through a second barrier,” Calleja said.

Images of the damage done to the ceiling pane of the building along with the vent grate of the room, directly adjacent to the shot window. Photo credit: Quinn Buffandeau

Calleja also added what this round could do to a person.

“it would probably kill them, or at least seriously injure them. It would do some serious damage depending on where it would hit. Obviously if (they) get hit in the head or a vital organ (they)’re going to have a very bad day, but again that’s all based on the type of bullet it was,” Calleja said. “If it were a high velocity rifle, they’d have a very, very bad day, but if it were a low velocity pistol round they could be seriously injured. They could be killed. You know, there’s a lot of circumstances that could play out just depending on the type of firearm and the type of bullet that it was.”

In an interview, Trevis said that he did not believe students were in danger due to this situation, as police believe the shots occurred between 4 and 7:15 a.m., a time when “there aren’t any students in that area.”

He added, “I want to assure this matter was investigated. We believe it was a vandalism, that it was targeted towards property,” and that “if anybody sees something suspicious, say something. We’ll respond right away and deal with this.”

“It’s got to take some special kind of idiot or some special kind of psychopath to discharge a firearm at a school” Calleja said about the incident.

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