About 20 minutes before the dance was to end, Gillette went out on the back patio to ask a group of kids, including Andrew Wurst, to come back inside. As Gillette turned to leave, Andrew pulled out a .25 caliber semiautomatic pistol belonging to his father and shot him twice, once in the face and once in the back. A friend standing nearby recoiled in shock. “Don’t worry,” Andrew reassured him, “I’m not going to shoot you.”
Andrew moved back inside, carrying the gun, and called out for Eric Wozniak, another student. Patricia M. Crist, Parker’s principal, was cowering nearby, trying to take cover. “He’s not here,” she told Andrew. Andrew turned and pointed the gun at Crist’s head. “That won’t save you,” he said sternly, looking at the principal’s makeshift barricade. Andrew didn’t fire but continued walking toward the dance floor area. As Andrew came through the double-door entry, another friend pleadingly asked why he was doing this. Andrew responded by putting his free hand to his head, twirling his extended finger, and yelling, “I’m crazy, man! I’m crazy, man!”
Andrew scanned the crowd of terrified teachers and classmates who were scrambling to hide or escape. “Shut up,” he yelled, “or someone else is going to die.” He fired two more times, grazing a second teacher, Edrye May Boraten, 51, and wounding a classmate, Jacob Tury, in the back. Andrew’s eyes locked onto Justin Fletcher, one of the toughest boys in the eighth grade, who stood defiantly and stared at him. “If you’re going to shoot, shoot me,” Justin said firmly, “just don’t shoot anybody else.” Andrew fired. The bullet passed through Justin’s shirt sleeve and hit classmate Robert Zemcik in the foot.
Seeming confused, Andrew left the banquet hall and went to a grassy area in back. Nick’s Place owner James A. Strand, who lives next door, heard the gunshots, grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun, and ran over to confront the shooter. He spotted Andrew about 40 yards in back of the building. In his statement to police, Strand said that Andrew pointed the pistol at him. He drew a bead on Andrew with his shotgun and twice yelled for the boy to drop the gun. Andrew hesitated but did not drop his weapon immediately. Strand then heard someone else yell for Andrew to drop the gun, and he did.
Strand got Andrew onto the ground and began to search him for other weapons, assisted by science teacher David A. Masters and James J. Washok, a student teacher who worked with Gillette. Strand found a dinner fork hidden inside the top of Andrew’s sock. In his statement to police, Washok stated: “Wurst was rambling and crying and said something to the effect, ‘I died four years ago. I’ve already been dead and I’ve come back. It doesn’t matter anymore. None of this is real.’” Strand and the two teachers walked Andrew back to the building and held him until