Alleged Hillsdale High bomber set to stand trial; cops honored for valor in incident

Doctors say a teenager accused of targeting staff and students in a bomb attack at Hillsdale High School last year is mentally able to stand trial.

Alexander Youshock, 18, is accused of entering his former high school with 10 pipe bombs strapped to a vest, a 2-foot sword and a chain saw. His intent was to kill as many people as possible, according to San Mateo police.

He allegedly exploded two bombs, causing minor damage but no injuries, before being tackled by 34-year-old teacher Kennet Santana. The teen had not attended Hillsdale High since June 2008.

In December, Youshock’s attorney expressed doubt regarding his client’s competency to stand trial and two doctors were assigned to evaluate the teen.

On Monday, the court found Youshock competent to stand trial, San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Criminal proceedings will resume with a jury trial Jan. 31 and a pretrial conference Dec. 7, Wagstaffe said.

San Mateo cops earn honors

San Mateo police officers were honored Tuesday for their swift and brave actions Aug. 24, 2009, when a teenager armed with homemade explosives unsuccessfully plotted to kill at Hillsdale High School.

A retired San Mateo police captain and three officers each received the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor in Sacramento.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown awarded 10 officers statewide for being “real-life action heroes.”

The San Mateo Police Department honorees included retired Capt. Kevin Raffaelli and officers Rick Apecechea, Jeff Dellinges and Roberto Gonzalez.

When reports came in of shots fired and a possible explosion at Hillsdale High, Apecechea responded and rushed to the aid of school faculty, who were holding a teen suspect on the ground, according to a report from the Attorney General’s Office.

He handcuffed the suspect, then-17-year-old Alexander Youshock, and discovered Youshock was wearing a tactical vest with pipe bombs.

That happened just as Raffaelli, Dellinges and Gonzalez arrived to assist. Raffaelli cut the tactical vest from the suspect’s body. Apecechea, Dellinges and Gonzalez then lifted the suspect, removed the vest and took him to a patrol car while Raffaelli secured the vest and the bombs, authorities said.

All 10 bombs were live and capable of causing lethal injuries.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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