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California

Suspect detained in shooting near Santa Rosa high school that injured 1, police say

Ridgway High School in Santa Rosa
Police officers search for a suspect in a shooting at a high school in Santa Rosa, Calif.
(Beth Schlanker / [Santa Rosa] Press Democrat)

A 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded Tuesday near Ridgway High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., by a assailant who fled onto campus. A suspect was arrested about two hours later, police said.

Santa Rosa police received a call just before 9a.m. about a shooting at the intersection of Ridgway Avenue and Morgan Street, steps from the campus. Witnesses told police the shooter fled onto school grounds, prompting lockdowns at Ridgway and two nearby campuses, Capt. John Cregan said.

For the record:
11:28 PM, Oct. 22, 2019 An earlier version of this article gave the shooting victim’s age as 17. Police now say he was 16.

“There was never an active shooter on the campus,” Cregan said, adding thatthe lockdowns were done in an abundance of caution. “There was no violence that occurred on the school campus.”

Based on witness reports and video, police say the shooter concealed the gun in a backpack that he put into a nearby car; the car drove off and the shooter went into a classroom on campus.

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The injured teen, who was shot twice in the upper body, sought treatment at a trauma center before police arrived at the high school. He was said to be stable, Cregan said.

Both teens were students at Ridgway. Police are not identifying either juvenile.

Helicopters circled over surrounding neighborhoods as the Police Department’s SWAT team and officers armed with rifles secured the campus. Officers coordinated with school officials before entering the classroom and arresting the suspect.

The lockdown was lifted and classes resumed shortly after 11:30 a.m.

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The suspect was booked into Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center on suspicion of homicide.

The situation rattled parents and left students at nearby Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Junior College on edge as their campuses also locked down.

Students at the junior college were told by campus officials via email shortly before 9:30 a.m. to find a safe location out of sight, stay away from windows and barricade themselves behind secured doors.

The parent of a student at Santa Rosa High School posted a screenshot of a text exchange with her daughter, who told her that an intruder was near the school.

“Stay small. Stay safe,” the mother wrote to her daughter.

“What is wrong with our society ... and why has this type of text become familiar,” the woman wrote on social media. “I’m saddened. I’m angry. I’m frightened.”

About 30 people inside St. Luke Lutheran Church and school, also near the Ridgway campus, decided to shelter in place amid the police activity as a precaution, said Paulina Crowell, an administrator at the church.

“We have absolutely no idea what’s going on,” she said shortly after 9 a.m. “We just heard sirens. Families have been texting saying the high school and [junior college] are on lockdown.”

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Jill Bottomley, who lives near Ridgway High School on Benton Street, said she closed her doors and windows and was spending the day monitoring news of the shooting. Since the Tubbs fire in 2017, area residents have been alert when law enforcement officials send out notifications, she said.

“Neighbors see things like that and they tend to pay attention,” she said.

Despite the police activity, residents seemed mostly at ease.

Bottomley said she looked out her window to see people walking and the garbage truck making its rounds.

“It’s not like the entire neighborhood is shut down,” she said.

“I feel like there’s enough police presence that I don’t feel in danger.”


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