Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jan. 30, 1979, Los Angeles Times, San Diego parents waited in anguish, by Cilla Brown and Lanie Jones,

January 30, 1979, St. Petersburg Times - Los Angeles Times, page A3, San Diego parents waited in anguish, by Cilla Brown and Lanie Jones, 540 words

Courtesy: St. Petersburg Times

Original title: 'Oh Please, Let Her Be There, Let Her Be There...'; Frantic Parents Seek News of Children on Nightmare Morning,

SAN DIEGO---Their faces said it all. They were the parents.

One by one, their cars screeched to a stop, and they ran into the hospital. Some were screaming with the anguish and frustration of knowing their children were wounded but not knowing how badly.

"There is somebody here who knows about my daughter," attorney Lee Selvig cried as he burst into the Alvarado Community Hospital lobby. He attempted to push past a hospital social worker to find his little girl.

"Pay me the courtesy of finding out how my daughter is," Selvig demanded.

Within moments, Selvig got an answer.

A doctor, clad in operating room cap and gown, emerged from an elevator and talked to the distraught father, reassuring him that 9-year-old Monica would recover from her abdominal gunshot wound after surgery.

Monica Selvig was one of eight children wounded by a teen-age sniper at Cleveland School Monday. And her father was one of several hundred parents who spent at least part of the day in a nightmare world of waiting.

Half the injured children had been sent to Grossmont Hospital.

Some parents there, when told their children's names were not on the patient list, whispered "Thank God" and slumped into chairs. But their relief was not long-lived, for there were still more victims at Alvarado Hospital.

But by 11 a.m. the mood had brightened at Grossmont Hospital. Three of the children had been released to the care of their smiling, if shaken, parents.

Ten-year-old Julie Robles walked out of the hospital and answered reporters' questions. Her father, Refugio, held his arm tightly around her shoulders as she described her ordeal.

"I saw the principal lying there, and then something came at me. It felt like a little nip or something on my side. I went into the classroom and saw it was blood. That's how I knew," Julie said. "I started to cry, but I knew that wouldn't do any good." She tried to smile. Her father pulled her closer to him.

At Alvarado Hospital, Charles Miller was standing outside the intensive care unit, where his 9-year-old son Cam lay. Miller said he heard about the shooting over his car radio. He went back home, only to be told by a neighbor that his son had been one of the injured.

"On the way back I was doing a little praying," Miller said. "I didn't think it would be right to pray that at least it would be minor and my prayers were answered."

"I drove five kids (two were her own) to that school this morning," Judy Tenorio said. "They got out of the car just as the bullets started flying. Someone yelled at them to start running and told me to get out of there. I haven't seen them since, and I don't know where they are."

Mrs. Tenorio was one of hundreds of parents who stood waiting for the bused evacuating the children from Cleveland School to arrive at Pershing Junior High School. When the buses pulled up to the curb---surrounded by police escort---parents and children strained to spot each other through the bus windows.

Tears that had been held back all morning started flowing as the children ran into their parents' arms.

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