SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A high school in California turned into a chaotic scene on Tuesday as police responded to reports that a student had been shot.
Unsure of whether it was an isolated incident or an active shooter situation, officials put all three schools in the complex on lockdown, requiring more than 10,000 students and faculty members to shelter in place while police searched for the gunman.
Turns out he was hiding inside the school with his fellow classmates.
— Popular Crime (@popular_crime) October 23, 2019
California officials say that the incident began after two students at Ridgway High reportedly got into a fight outside the school just before 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
One student produced a gun from his backpack and allegedly shot the other student while the two stood on the sidewalk. While the school is outfitted with metal detectors for security, authorities say the gun never came inside the walls of the building.
After the gunman fired multiple rounds at his 16-year-old victim, the wounded student ran to a car, which transported him to the hospital.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) October 23, 2019
The gunman was seen on surveillance cameras passing his backpack off to another student, who took it and drove away. Police are investigating into whether or not that student knew that a loaded weapon that had just been used to commit a crime was inside the pack.
Then, police say the suspect went inside the school and hid with other students as panic erupted throughout campus. The student was “behaving normally,” said teachers who saw him after. They never suspected that the gunman that police and SWAT teams were frantically searching for was hiding right in the school with them.
Police were eventually able to track the shooter down using surveillance footage from the school’s security system. They tracked the alleged gunman from the site of the shooting to where he ran back into class, eventually hiding with his class in the gymnasium for approximately two hours before being captured.
“It’s disturbing to see that he was able to go right around to his normal business,” police Capt. John Cregan told The Associated Press. “It’s a scary situation.”
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Officers converged on the area and took the teen into custody and booked him into a juvenile detention center. He may be facing attempted murder charges, officials said.
The FBI is assisting the Santa Rosa Police Department with the investigation. They are looking further into the motive, questioning whether it may be gang related.
Parents spoke with reporters about what their children went through during the scary situation, noting that it has become a seemingly normal occurrence in this day and age.
MSN reported that Cherie Posluszny’s daughter was inside the school during the lockdown. She received a text from her that someone had been shot inside the school. Then she got another text from her teenage daughter, reading, “I love you.”
She quickly responded to ask if she was okay.
“Not really. But I will be OK,” she responded.
Posluszny said she’s worried how it will affect her daughter, as well as the other students who went through the traumatic situation.
“This is becoming routine. It’s part of the culture now. These kids are also victims,” she said.