Police on Thursday said they were still searching for at least two suspects in a shooting at an Oakland school campus Wednesday that they believe was gang-related.
Six people over the age of 18 were shot and taken to local hospitals, police said. Police believe the shooting was targeted, but it’s unclear what led to the incident.
Two students, two staff members, a counselor and a security guard were injured in the shooting. Oakland police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said at a press conference Thursday two of the victims were in critical but stable condition, one person was in stable condition, and three people were released from the hospital.
Oakland Police Department Assistant Chief Darren Allison said Wednesday the shooting happened at about 12:45 p.m. at the Rudsdale Newcomer High School portion of the King Estates campus, which houses four schools that also include Sojourner Truth Independent Study and BayTech Charter School.
Armstrong said authorities were looking for at least two shooters and another accomplice, but there may be more people involved, KGO-TV reported. Nobody was in custody as of Thursday.
“The individuals who are responsible for this are still out in our community armed and dangerous,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said the shooters were targeting a specific person and began to fire outside the school before breaching the front entryway. He said investigators are still working to determine what precipitated the shooting and who the shooters were targeting.
He called the incident “wholly unacceptable” and said more than 30 rounds were fired, which was likely gang-related, KGO-TV reported.
“Today’s gun violence at Sojourner Truth school shocks the soul — our schools are sanctuaries for our children,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a tweet on Wednesday. “The unbridled access to firearms in our country is inexcusable.”
John Sasaki, a spokesperson for Oakland Unified School District, said in a statement that district officials “do not have any information beyond what Oakland Police are reporting.” He said the Sojourner Truth Independent Study headquarters has no students.
Outside a nearby church converted into a makeshift student-parent reunification site, Oakland city councilmembers Loren Taylor and Treva Reid met with frustrated teachers, parents and community leaders fed up with the rash of shootings plaguing the city, including eight homicides over a recent eight-day span.
“This is way beyond the point of crisis,” said Taylor, who is running for mayor and lives nearby.
“We have to ensure we bring all hands on deck to fight these guns and bullets flying. It’s going to require early intervention, and eyes and ears on the ground,” Taylor said. “It has to be our top priority to keep our residents safe.”
Reid, whose district is where the school shooting occurred, said she raced to the school as police were searching to see if the shooters were still on site.
“You’re standing out here where principals were in shock, they don’t have the answers. They’re processing having to use their hands to save victims’ lives that were before them,” she said. “Now we have to work on building that trust back for students, their parents and faculty to return to that campus. When that will happen? I can’t tell you.”
She said city and school officials are already strategizing to address those schools’ needs. Overall, Reid said the past couple of weeks of deadly violence has been emotionally draining for the city.
“Processing all of the homicides and being at the scenes still seeing loved ones’ bodies on the ground, it’s traumatizing,” Reid said. “We certainly feel the weight of our community. They feel like they are being preyed upon and held hostage. They can’t leave out of their homes, can’t go to the park, can’t go to the gas station, can’t go to the grocery store.
“And now parents feel like they can’t take their kids to school and have peace, safety, and security. That crippling weight of this violence is impacting all of us, especially those on this campus.”
Contributing: The Associated Press