Marine Shooting Spree at High School

April 9, 1984
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RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- A jilted and apparently suicidal Marine returned to his former high school Monday to confront his girlfriend's new boyfriend. Two hours and two-dozen gunshots later, he was in jail.

'His purpose was to provoke a shooting,' said police Sgt. Gary Coniglio. 'He wanted us to shoot him.'

Sheriff's deputies rushing to suburban Miraleste High School at about 8 a.m. found a teenager dressed in military fatigues and armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9mm automatic pistol in a shoulder holster.

As students at the school remained huddled under their desks, deputiessurrounded the suspect and -- after firing several shots at him - forced him to throw down his guns.

The gunman, identified as Lance Cpl. Robert V. Chadwell, a 19-year-old Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, invaded the campus, firing gunshots wildly into the air, officials said.

Chadwell had returned to the affluent suburban school to confront his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend, both students at the school.

He fired 'several' shotgun blasts into the boy's car and held sheriff's deputies off for almost two hours before surrendering, Coniglio said.

Chadwell was arrested after two sheriff's deputies returned his fire with a shotgun and an AR 15 rifle. A rifle shot that tore through Chadwell's shirt, leaving a painful welt on his shoulder, apparently convinced him to surrender, deputies said.

Chadwell was examined at a local hospital and then booked at the Lomita sheriff's station on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and felony vandalism. Bail was set at $3,000.

Officials said the young Marine confronted his girlfriend's new boyfriend in the school parking lot, ordered him out of his new Ford Bronco and fired an estimated 12 rounds into the car.

Deputies ordered students to remain in the classrooms out of the line of fire.

Sheriff's deputies surrounded the suspect as he retreated to his motorcycle, parked in a lot overlooking the school.

After being cornered, the gunman fired 'a couple' of pistol shots into the air in an apparent attempt to provoke deputies into shooting him, officials said.

'And then he started to bring the gun to bear on our people, at which point our people returned fire,' Coniglio said.

No one was injured in the shooting spree.

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