Elementary school principal killed in shooting; man arrested
Police arrested janitor John Luebbers, 44, in connection with the shooting.
February 2nd, 2011
06:28 PM ET

Elementary school principal killed in shooting; man arrested

The principal of an elementary school in northern California was shot to death Wednesday, police said.

Placerville Police Chief George Nielsen identified the victim as Sam Lacara, 50, the principal of Schnell School, who was shot in the upper torso.

John Luebbers, 44, a custodial employee, was arrested in connection with the shooting, which was believed to have stemmed from a dispute between the two men, Nielsen said.

No schoolchildren were injured, but authorities believe one student may have seen the shooting.

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Filed under: California • Crime
soundoff (408 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    It is our God given right to keep and bear arms. It is the second most important right we have. If you don't beleive me check the Bill of Rights. If you let them take this right from us there is nothing stopping them from taking away all of are rights.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      God didn't give you that right. Some guys did. And it's behind freedom of religion, but that doesn't seem to be working out too well in this country does it? Muslim? Punish them for something they didn't do. Pagan? Oooh, they're devil worshippers... Lets make their lives miserable.

      How's that well-organized militia going for you?

      February 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • EnoughAlready!

      Comparing man written fairy tales against something tangible and material shows lack of character and intellect.

      February 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Valerie

    People are more concerned about their precious guns than the safety of children. Stupid gun nuts. Sure, a gun doesn't kill people on its own, but did you think it was designed to keep papers from blowing away? Sure, someone could use a different method of killing, but it is one thing to stand back and pull a trigger than to be in someone's face and plunging a knife into them. If you really want to protect your "rights" you'd be pushing for tighter controls on who can access guns and ammunition. That way "responsible" owners wouldn't be lumped in with psychopaths.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • EnoughAlready!

      Feed my family through the winter then we'll talk about who is right and wrong. Until you can make sure that people who have to hunt for their livelihoods are accomodated you are just saber rattling and it sounds rusty at that. If you come up with the magic solution to that dilemma then I will glady melt down my own rifle. I'm waiting....

      February 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anthony

    Let's get smart America. Ban the gun!

    February 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chuck

    Yeah, every time I buy a gun a kitten and a small child die.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brandon

    Again May, you aren't very bright. I carry one because there are bad people out there that commit crimes and there can't be a nice police officer standing on every corner to protect us, if there were then I would not need one, but until then I must protect myself and my family, I don't wave it around or threaten anyone. That would be stupid and I am not stupid.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Plcerville

    It was just announced that the Principal was killled. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victim and to those of the Schnell school staff and sudents.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anthony

    Americans are as dumb as the rest of the world thinks we are. It's obvious.....

    February 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Geek

    I have never been a gun enthusiast.

    I lived in England for a year, and was a bartender. I spoke with many british citizens in the pub every night, and frequently the discussion mentioned the differences between the US and UK with regard to guns.

    They thought it was ludicrous that we allowed licensed, concealed carry.

    While I was there, I saw people viciously assaulted with knives and having broken beer glasses shoved in their faces. The father of a co-worker was murdered with an axe blocks from where I lived.

    Which culture is more barbaric? In which culture would you like to possess a force equalizer, when the police won't come to defend you?

    I would prefer a skilled CCW owner able to halt a maniac, rather than waiting for someone to eventually answer my 911 call.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marlye

    But don't be reading my mind between four and five. That's Willy's time! ...
    **************************************************************************************************************************************
    (Placerville, CA) - The alleged gunman in a school shooting in Placerville, California, has been taken into custody.
    Authorities found custodian John Leubbers at his home around noontime.
    He's suspected of shooting an adult administrator at Schnell Elementary School, who reportedly is the principal.
    The victim was rushed to a hospital, and the sheriff's department says his injuries are life-threatening.
    Schnell School and all other schools in El Dorado County, California, have been placed in lockdown.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. truthnman

    What we really need is to kill these idiot thugs asap when they commit these types of crimes–enough said!!!!!

    February 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • EnoughAlready!

      Sadly if we wish to maintain a *fair* society that is not an option. Although I agree it would be far more efficient and less stress on the taxpayers. I for one would be all for it but ONLY if they are caught redhanded or proven guilty beyond doubt in some way. Eye for an eye is not a good way to live but if that is all these idiots understand then perhaps it would be a wakeup call to send them in front of a firing squad with all due haste. The reason criminals are running rampant now is that the laws protect them too well and are far too lax in their wording so that lawyers can jump them through the loopholes to gain them freedom, then we are back to square one with them. What's worse is it's a proven fact that we no longer fully control our own prisons, organised gangs control them, we just swell their ranks when we throw more violent offenders in with them, and when/if they get out they are FAR more dangerous. Laws do indeed need a revision and a good case of scrutiny.

      February 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jujubeans

    great article. Anybody hurt? They should at least know that.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eddie

      CNN is horrid at reporting the news.

      Sam LaCara, the principal was shot by John Luebbers, a custodian. LaCara died at the hospital. Luebbers was arrested and charged.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • calibm

      The principal died around 11a PST. This is so sad

      February 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      the principal was shot...taken to hospital & died....It was a friend of a friends husband that was killed.....very very sad

      February 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xzandrea

      The shooting happen around 10:30 am PST. The Principal was shot and killed. The gunman was the school custodian. He was arressted at his home around 12:00 pm PST. The school was on lock down until 2:00 pm PST. All of the children were bused to the Placerville County Fairgrounds were they are now being released to their families. The police, school and hospital officials just finished a press conference.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biomed Man

      Police chief in the northern California town of Placerville says an elementary school principal has died after being shot by a janitor. No children were hurt. The janitor has been arrested. Taken from WVEC.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • will

      Living here it is just sad and and painful.....we are a small town and this effects so many. Pointing fingers and saying what ifs may make you feel better..but we are living it

      February 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      @wantanye: I also agree with you that having so many licensed hunters in the USA makes me feel much safer. I, myself, have never hunted (except for shooting clay pigeons)! @Phillip: As children your instincts about people are usually "right on". So, chances are you had the correct "vibes" from your janitor. Certainly not saying all janitors are like that. Where I went to elementary school "Mr B" was a riot, great magician! Plus, he would bring in treats all the time (his wife loved to bake but they had no children, and Mr. B. didn't need any more). Hence the saying about "children & dogs" being the best judge of character. Wes: You must be joking-or tring to. Either that, or the school certainly needs attention, perhaps from the "spelling police".

      February 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jack

    i swear to GOD ALMIGHTY!! if these kindergartners have their second amendment rights infringed because of this, i'm going to go crazy!

    February 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      I see you ALSO work with Republicans.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • JV

      Jack, sounds like you have already gone crazy.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marc

      I smell sarcasm folks.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Well, rather than trying to beat the rush, you've already went crazy, huh?

      February 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eli

      I only wish that one of those kids had a gun and could have stopped this. We need more guns. An armed elementary is a polite elementary.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      jck-Do you really think that "trying" (which you failed miserably at b-t-w) to be funny is appropriate? @searchingForAnAthiestExtremist-I carry a gun everday-yet somehow the "fear" you speak of has never even entered my mind. Carrying a gun would be a terrible mistake for someone who lived in fear to carry a gun, they would be pre-destined to make an error.

      February 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian SD

    There are 270 Million guns in the US for a population of 308 Million. As much as I'd like to make them go away the statistics are in their favor. Speaking of statistics....people who believe carryying or owning a gun for self defense have not actually read them where hand guns are concerned. You are more likely to be killed with your own gun than thwart a crime against you. For those of the school of thought that it isn't the gun it's the criminal and he would have just used another weapon I say that I can't remember when an inocent bystander was killed by the "crossfire" of a baseball bat, knife or a hammer.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Sorry Brian, you are 100% wrong.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Chicago

      Thank you Brian. You are 110% correct.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Brian....shut up.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      You are sooooo wrong its not funny! If the security guard was armed, maybe the shooter would have been taken care of before injuring or killing anyone. Your left wing rant won't work. I have a right to keep AND bear arms and if I want to have one on my person, thats my business.
      Oh wait, you get to have your ways with prayer in school, the Pledge and guns because we are stepping on your rights but we can't have it our way...............get a life.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      LMAO at poor little David, can't even come up with his own material.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • watanye

      There are over 4 million licensed hunters in the usa. maybe the largest army in the world .makes me feel very safe

      February 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • USNavySquid

      If the security guard was armed... there might be more bullets flying around to hurt a kid.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shoot em

      Maybe John Luebbers was defending himself.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I'm in favor of prayer in the schools, so children in my family go to parochial school. I pray every day that people won't use their guns on other people. How can we call it a right to harm others? I was assaulted in 1985 at gunpoint; I am not a deer, or a rabbit, nor am I a politician, just a mother and now a grandmother. Brian is right people; if you don't think so, you aren't paying attention, and aren't praying.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      But Brian, it isn't my hand grenades that kill people – it's the criminals who use them!

      Now if that security guard had an bandoleer of grenades...

      February 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Funny, Brian, but I drew my concealed carry firearm twice in my life in self-defense. Neither time did I have to fire, but induced the criminal to drop his gun on the ground and await the arrival of the police.
      Both times, I noticed his approach and reaching toward his weapon. One time, he DID get it out, but decided to not fire, as I have a habit of aiming rather low when suggesting the individual disarm.
      Typically, the criminal decides that shooting me would cause ME to fire, which would remove his reproductive ability.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brigadeer general

      Cant wait for the 1 time wzrd has to deal with a non rational attacker who doesn't really care about anything. Bye bye Gandolf LOLOLOLOL

      February 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex

      Sad story. I wish someone would have seen a sign and reached out to that janitor. But this has nothing to do with gun control.

      Gun control only keeps honest people honest. Last I checked, it's illegal to bring a gun to a elementary school, so looks like that gun control law failed to work.

      And when it comes down to the right to own a gun, your ultimate safety is up to you and only you. The police are sworn to protect the public, not you the individual citizen. If the police have the options to either let ten people die or let five people die, and you're one of the five, I hope you can defend yourself. And the police aren't guaranteed. From a criminal killing you in a few seconds when the cops arrive in a few minutes to the government outright failing (Katrina), don't ultimately put protecting your life to the responsibility of anyone other than yourself.

      February 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Brian SD (I take it you are from the San Diego area) : You are SOOOO wrong. People WHO harm themselves with GUNS #1: Don't Know how to properly handle a gun #2 Statistics are made up, depending on what answer you want (what can I say Math Major-well one degree-I happen to like math& I'm a woman-go figure). Just check the "legal set" of books (of most any business) against the "true set", amazing, they never match...hmm. @Elizabeth: I find your comments most irritating. How DARE you suggest that anyone who owns a gun is not religious! What a nutcase you are! My children all attended parochial schools, more for the education than the prayers. ANY child CAN pray in a PUBLIC school. They do NOT HAVE "open" prayer-or moment's of silence; but NO ONE can STOP a child from praying. Just like at parochial schools, they BEGIN & END the day in prayer-funny how many times I heard my kids & their friends say, "Yeah, I prayed I got that one right", referring to a test question. I pray continually, all throughout the day-I don't need a formal setting, I have children. How dare you insinuate that YOU are holier than me because you PRAY about guns. #1 Are you obsessed, did you seek counseling after your attack? Did that person show you their gun permit-NO (I pray so much that I have an instant answer from God). Talk about NEEDING to PRAY. You will be in my prayers, go seek help. You have let ONE instance in your life make you a Victim forever. I too have had unfortunate things happen, but where you were a victim I knew what to do, years before I carried a gun. You might want to add to your prayers that God give you the strength to go on and that he also Bless You & help you to be less judgemental.

      February 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • stevenscarl

      yep I personally own several of those hand guns. Whats more is that I buy more often. I say buy them cheap and stack them deep.
      As for the liberal democrats just keep chewing your govt cud. They deliver the hay to the sheeple daily.

      February 4, 2011 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Hangtownie

    We live in Placerville – My wife texted me that the princple died about an hour ago.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Wow this is a such a tragedy. My prayers with the victims family.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will Dweezy

      The only "tragedy" is Hangtownie's spelling. "princple died about an hour ago" !?! I sure hope the Principal takes care of this, moron.

      February 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex

      Really Will Dweezy? Not funny.

      February 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will Dweezy

      Oh stfu, Tex. Your idea of comedy is blue-collar comedy tour.
      You might be a redneck if.... your name is Tex!!

      February 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Know that my family & I are praying for your entire community, and the families & friends of both the Victim & the Shooter, all their lives have been changed forever. We also live in a small community and can't imagine this happening.
      The "person" below, who apparently is more concerned with spelling-I am certain just forgot to mention that -he/she is the "Spelling Police" aka "the CNN journalist" who "wrote" this story. Know that the prayers of numerous caring peple are with you all, especially the children. At that age they idolize their principal. How very sad.

      February 2, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Don't even pay any attention to the spell check person, we all have made errors, the least of which, we can only hope, is spelling.
      @BrigadeerGeneral: Well, Wzrd would have one definate advantage over you, the criminal would not walk away. I, however, aim to kill. Although my second shot might be lower.

      February 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      However, you are a genius if you go by the name Will Dweezy & resort to foul language. Way to show intellect, or lack thereof.

      February 2, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JJ

    The principal has died... So sad

    February 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carol

      Ok Philip, But I PRAY for every shooting victim, accident victim, natural disasters, ect. I Hope (& pray) you don't personnally know that many-or else I'd have to say you're hanging around the wrong crowd & probably, if you own a gun, maybe DON't have a permit??? It is amazing how many people are spelling-police (it's a shame I need a new keyboard...I spilled on my keyboard, (wine of course, isn't that the only drink for religious people-ask Elizabeth..no-diet coke-yum though not too good for keyboards-& I hate proof reading, did it for my kids, that ended that! lol). I have to admit, I've gotten rusty on the spelling of some words-since the kids are grown & spell check makes for being lazy. It is weird no one corrects grammar, hmm. I even gave that up it seems (English minor...& a Mother pre & post spell check. Heaven forbid if I missed a grammar error, or a spelling error (some words are very sneaky)...God Bless this community.

      February 2, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
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