OAKLAND, Calif. – Six people were shot at a campus in Oakland on Wednesday that houses at least three schools, prompting lockdowns and evacuations as police descended on the scene, authorities said.
Three of the victims were in critical condition Wednesday afternoon; the conditions of the other three were unknown, according to Ray Kelly, a spokesperson with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. The shooting began about 12:45 p.m., the Oakland Police Department said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday afternoon on Twitter that the shootings occurred at the campus for Sojourner Truth Independent Study and that the school “is now clear.” She said all six victims are adults, although she didn’t give any specific ages.
“Today’s gun violence at Sojourner Truth school shocks the soul – our schools are sanctuaries for our children,” Schaaf said.
Authorities have not released details about a possible perpetrator, or whether anyone is in custody.
The Oakland Police Department asked parents to meet their children at a church close to the school complex. There, dozens of teachers mingled with law enforcement and reporters while waiting to return to campus after being evacuated.
While Schaaf said the shooting occurred at the Sojourner Truth Independent Study school, teachers at another school on the campus, Bay Area Technology School, described hearing the gunshots. Bay Area Technology School is a charter program that serves students in grades six through 12, according to state enrollment data. The education complex also houses Rudsdale High School.
Matthew Benjamin, a high school teacher at Bay Area Technology School, said he was walking down a hallway when he heard what sounded like gunshots, one after another, right around the corner.
“It was a blur,” Benjamin said. “I just instinctively turned around. I jumped back into the classroom; I told everyone get down. Kids were starting to flip out, and I grabbed hold of the door.”
He said he yelled at students to “get down.” Benjamin’s class locked the windows and hunkered down for about an hour.
“You’re scared for the kids,” he said.
Across the hallway, Sherman Moore, a science teacher, heard what he thought were fireworks. But he told his students to stay quiet, just in case.
Then a voice came on the intercom that the school was being locked down.
The students pushed tables and chairs up against the doors and waited, hoping for the best. About an hour later, police officers knocked on the door and evacuated everyone.
“Once we started walking up the hallway, I knew it was really serious, because they had us do this,” Moore said, putting his hands above his head.
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