SANTEE, Calif. – Monday marked 17 years since San Diego County’s worst school shooting.
In 2001, Santana High School freshman Andy Williams opened fire on campus, killing two students and injuring more than a dozen others. Randy Gordon, 17 years old at the time, was one of the students killed. Every year since, March 5 has been a very tough day for Randy’s mother, Mari Gordon Rayborn.
“It’s a time to remember him and think about him but it also means one more year that I don’t have him in my life,” Rayborn said. “Time helps because you get used to it, but there’s never a point where you say, ‘OK. It’s good. I understand what happened.’ You can’t ever say that to yourself! You deal with that every day.”
Every year Rayborn plans a remembrance to honor her son, but when March 5 comes around the pain is too much for her.
“We get closer to the actual day, today, and one part of me just doesn’t want it to happen. Don’t want one more year to pass that he’s been gone,” she said.
This year the date is even more poignant – Randy was 17 when he was murdered and it’s been 17 years since the shooting. And the Parkland Florida high school shooting last month is still fresh on her mind. She says it’s not just the loss of a loved one. The entire family and community is impacted, as are those who were injured or witnessed the event and survived.
Rayborn herself has spent the last two-year homeless, living in her car. She says she has no relationship with her other children and is in poor health. She has this advice for other victims.
“It’s not just the victims that need help,” she said. “They all need help, and they need help for a long time, not just the first couple weeks or even the first year.”