STOCKTON (CBS13) — Jonathon Maffei was in third grade when a shooter killed five Southeast Asian students and injured 30 other people before committing suicide at Cleveland Elementary in Stockton.
“I have flashbacks and sometimes I have tears driving by,” he says.
Maffei was playing tetherball that unforgettable day 25 years ago. He could see the chaos, but could not hear it because he’s deaf,
“My opponent ran away from me,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on and someone pulled me and said there was a shooting.”
Like most of his peers on that bloody playground, he ran.
“A bullet went past my ear and hit the wall and rocks exploded in my face,” says Maffei.
It all happened around noon on Jan. 17, 1989 during recess. The gunman who used to go to Cleveland Elementary was known as a drifter and drug addict. Patrick Perdy, 24, fired more than 100 rounds filling classrooms with bullets.
Meanwhile kindergarten aide Barbara Guardado was nursing her baby two blocks away and could hear the cries and commotion.
“I always say to my daughter you saved my life, if I hadn’t gone to nurse (her) I would have been on campus,” she said.
The Park Village Apartments Community Center in Stockton was packed on the 25-year anniversary of the school massacre.
Many people at the remembrance have spent years working through post traumatic stress disorder and trauma, stemming from one of the first high-profile schoolyard slaughters.
“There are certain sounds I hear, I think about it.” Guardado said. “There are certain people I see, I think about it. Sandy Hook [school shooting], when that happened, I broke down.”
“It’s something I’m never going to get over. Every time you hear about school shootings like Columbine and all that stuff, it traumatizes me,” she said.
The gathering was put on by ‘Cleveland School Remembers’ – a group of retired Cleveland Elem. School teachers who are pushing for more legislation to protect kids.