PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

News

School shooting suspect in court

By From page A1 | April 11, 2011

The man accused of shooting Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara dead on Feb. 2 appeared in an El Dorado County courthouse Monday morning for a brief pre-preliminary hearing.

John Harold Luebbers, 44, appeared during an uneventful hearing that was ultimately continued to May 2.

El Dorado County deputy district attorney Joe Alexander noted that Luebbers’ public defender, David Cramer, was still awaiting receipt of a psychiatric report.

Luebbers is accused of gunning down LaCara, 50, with a .357 Magnum on the morning of Feb. 2.

LaCara was transported to Marshall Hospital in Placerville but was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

Authorities said Luebbers confessed to shooting LaCara in the principal’s office at the Placerville school after learning he had been laid off.

Luebbers was arrested without incident later that afternoon at his El Dorado residence.

But in the days following the shooting, district Superintendent Nancy Lynch told reporters Luebbers had not, in fact, been fired.

Lynch said the district had been interviewing candidates to fill an evening custodian position. Lynch would not say whether Luebbers, the lead daytime custodian, took issue with the interviews.

“He was sent home to cool off by Sam after a dispute about personnel,” said Lynch in February. “His job was not in jeopardy.”

LaCara’s death sent shockwaves through the Placerville community, as the public memorial for LaCara was attended by more than 1,500 people. A memorial fund has since been started in his memory, and a memorial garden at the end of the Highway 50 Schnell School Road offramp is in the works.

Luebbers is charged with a single count of murder as well as a special allegation of discharging a firearm in the killing.

He has pleaded not guilty.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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