Police are hunting a gunman on the loose after six adults were wounded in a shooting yesterday near a California school that serves recent immigrants who have fled violence in their home countries.
The incident took place around 12:45pm Wednesday at Rudsdale Newcomer High School in East Oakland, authorities said, with at least some of the victims found inside the school.
Three victims were taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland. Two were in a critical but stables conditions, having suffered gunshot wounds. The other was stable.
Those three victims are aged 18, 19 and 58 years old. Another three people were rushed to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where one was treated and released, one is pending release and another is in stable condition.
‘The victims were affiliated with the school, and we are determining the affiliation at this time,’ Oakland Assistant Police Chief Darren Allison said, although he declined to say whether any students or teachers were involved.
Allison said police were seeking at least one suspect but did not have anyone in custody.
The school serves recent immigrants ages 16-21 who have fled violence and instability in their home countries, according to the its website. It is one of four adjacent schools located on a block in east Oakland.
At least six people have been injured following a shooting at Rudsdale Newcomer High School in East Oakland, California, where law enforcement closed off the scene
The shooting occurred at a building on Fontaine Street – a location where there are multiple schools – including Bay Area Technology School, Rudsdale Newcomer High School, and Sojourner Truth Independent Study
Tonyia Carter (right), a Senior Violence Interrupter, comforts a city aide at St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church where staff have gathered
Victim Jason Arbuckle was reportedly grazed by a bullet as he was hanging a trophy display case
The shooting occurred at a building on Fontaine Street – a location where there are a number of other schools, including Bay Area Technology School and Sojourner Truth Independent Study.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed that all the victims were adults.
Police are looking for one suspect, however there may be others involved. A parent told KTVU she witnessed five potential gunmen. Cops said that they do not have anyone in custody currently.
According to cellphone video from inside the school when the officers arrived on the scene, a student can be heard telling them there were seven shots.
Bay Area Technology School put out an Instagram post stating that their campus security guard was injured in the shooting, but was not seriously injured.
Jason Arbuckle, a carpenter with Oakland Unified, told ABC7 that a bullet grazed his head and left some fragments behind. He and a crew were hanging a trophy display case when the shooting broke out, they report.
Other parents described a second victim who rushed to help after shots were fired.
‘Our heartfelt sympathies are extended to the families and friends of the six individuals who were injured during a shooting which took place near our campus this afternoon,’ they wrote.
They added that they commended their staff for ‘jumping into action’ and putting their lockdown protocols into effect once they realized an active shooter was on campus.
‘We also want to thank each of our students for the tremendous way they handled the safety protocols. They are superstars! Please hug them tightly for us.’
Rudsdale Newcomer High School says that its students, all recently arrived immigrants fleeing violence and instability, are working to support themselves and their families while also pursuing a high school diploma.
‘Due to their migration experiences, our students have faced a lot of trauma,’ the school says on their website.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office confirmed deputies called to help Oakland Police at the complex yesterday afternoon.
Children and parents are seen being taken out of the school following the shooting
Parents rush to park up and collect their children after the harrowing shooting
One woman told local news CBS Bay Area that she heard the gunshots ring from the buildings just after midday
But the children – who are believed be as young as kindergarten age and as old as 18 – were then evacuated from their buildings.
Treva Reid, a council member and candidate for Oakland mayor, said investigators told her the shooting may be tied to rising ‘group and gang violence.’
Reid went on to say that the shooting is proof that city has not invested enough in programs and initiatives to help children succeed.
‘We’ve disinvested in them, so children are taking matters into their own hands,’ she said.
‘They’re doing things in ways that are not healthy to resolve conflict and that’s what we’re seeing today.’
Community activist Nina Carter says that, despite all the rhetoric around school funding, the situation won’t change if Oakland students can’t relate to those who in charge.
‘You have to have in these schools and on these campuses that these kids (can relate to). You can’t just have anybody dealing with these types of trauma that these kids face. You have to come from that,’ explains Carter.
Carter is part of a Violence Interrupters team which mediates conflicts between groups and gangs.
The shootings come a day after Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong announced new measures to tackle gun violence.
One woman told local news CBS Bay Area that she heard the gunshots ring from the buildings just after midday.
Other horrified parents described their panic after finding out that their children’s schools were put into lockdown. One mother said after hearing the gunshots: ‘I was thinking the worst.’
School staff gather at St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church as police and investigators work at the scene of the shooting. No one has been arrested as yet
The Oakland Unified School District said in a statement: ‘There was an incident today at the King Estate campus on Fontaine Street, which houses the co-located Rudsdale Continuation and Newcomer high schools, BayTech Charter School, and the headquarters of Sojourner Truth Independent Study, which has no students at the site.
‘The campus is near Oakland Academy of Knowledge (OAK), but it is important to note the incident was NOT at OAK, nor did it have anything to do with that elementary school.
‘We currently do not have any information beyond what Oakland Police are reporting.’
John Sasaki, a spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District, said in a statement that counselors were being made available for students.
Television footage showed dozens of police cars and yellow tape on the street outside the school and students leaving nearby campuses.
James Jackson, chief executive of Alameda Health System, also noted an increase in violence.
‘We’ve seen almost a doubling of the violent crimes victims that we’re seeing here at our facility (Highland Hospital). So something has changed,’ Jackson said.
City Council Member Loren Taylor, who was outside the school, declined to confirm any details about the incident, telling KTVU-TV, ‘Guns were on our school campuses where our babies were supposed to be protected.’