Terrifying moments inside Oakland school as gunmen fire more than 30 rounds, wound 6

The Oakland Police Department is searching for at least two gunmen who fired 30 rounds at an East Oakland high school, injuring six people.


It was the final minutes of class for middle schoolers at the Bay Area Technology School in Oakland when the shots were heard.

Teachers and staff first thought the noise was firecrackers, said Seth Feldman, the school’s executive director. But it quickly became clear this was the latest in an epidemic of campus violence in the U.S.

Police now say two gunmen opened fire Wednesday inside the entrance of Rudsdale Newcomer High School, which is in the front of an education complex that includes Bay Area Tech. When it was over, two students and four staff members were wounded.


A school security guard “didn’t even know how he got shot because he was busy helping one of the victims,” Feldman said. The guard was finally taken to a hospital after a bullet grazed his knee but returned to the school in an Uber while police were still investigating the scene.

“In something horrible, there is always a silver lining,” Feldman said, noting that if the shooting had happened just five minutes later, his middle school students would be flowing out right into where the gunfire occurred. “There’s some sort of God’s blessing in the timing that this wasn’t worse.”

The attack left Oakland stunned and police searching for suspects and a detailed motive. Authorities said the shooting appeared to be related to a conflict among gang members but did not provide more details.

Two gunmen fired more than 30 rounds about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday after walking through the front doors of Rudsdale High School, on the King Estates campus in the 8200 block of Fontaine Street, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told reporters during a news conference Thursday.

The shooters identified the person they were allegedly targeting and unloaded a hail of bullets before fleeing the scene. At least one other person was involved in the shooting and drove the getaway vehicle, but there may be others, Armstrong said.

Police believe the gunmen used handguns with extended magazines, based on the number of rounds that were found at the school.


“We thank God that many more students were not injured as a result of this action,” Armstrong said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no arrests had been made. Police hadn’t released any descriptions or details about the suspects’ identities. Armstrong said investigators were poring over surveillance video and working to identify the shooters.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Thursday said the shooting should serve as a rallying cry to deal with gun violence.

“Every big-city mayor is tired of having press conferences like the one we are having right now,” Schaaf said. “We are tired of recognizing that despite the heroic efforts at local levels, that we cannot solve this epidemic of gun violence without federal action.”

Two students, a security guard, a school counselor and two other staff members were injured in the shooting, Armstrong said. The two victims who sustained the most serious injuries remain in critical condition, he said. A third individual is stable; the other three have been released from the hospital.

The campus houses middle and high schools, including the Bay Area Technology School, a public charter school for grades 6 through 12, and the Sojourner Truth Independent Study school, which operates an online learning program for K-12 students. Rudsdale High School is one school with two different programs: newcomer and continuation, according to the district.


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Police have not determined how the gunmen got inside the school, Armstrong said. It is also unclear whether the doors were unlocked or whether they were already open.

Nonetheless, the gunmen didn’t appear to make it that “deep” into the school, he said.

“It does not look like they breached the school or used tools to breach the school,” he added.

The shooting marked the second time in about a month that someone was shot at an Oakland school campus. On Aug. 29 at Madison Park Academy, which teaches grades 6-12, a 12-year-old shot a fellow student, who has since been released from the hospital. The shooting resulted from an “accidental discharge by a juvenile student,” police said. The 12-year-old has since been charged in the incident.

The shooting at the King Estates campus also came days after the Police Department announced a new initiative to target gun violence by boosting officers to its criminal investigative division and in neighborhoods with high crime. Hours before that announcement, two people were shot, one fatally, in an East Oakland neighborhood, marking the 96th homicide investigated by Oakland police this year, authorities said. At this time last year, police were investigating the 102nd homicide in the city.

The incident once again places a focus on school shootings, which have been increasing in recent years.

“You hear about this happening all the time,” one parent told KGO-TV on Wednesday as he waited to be reunited with his daughter. This is “the closest it’s ever got to home. It’s a surreal feeling and you panic, you just want to get to your daughter,” he said.


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In a letter to families in the district Thursday morning, Oakland Unified acting Supt. Sondra Aguilera said behavioral health staff will be available to provide psychological and emotional support to students and staff once they return to school.

“Our thoughts are with the people who were injured and their families, and we are hoping for quick recoveries for all of them,” Aguilera said in the letter. “We know how traumatizing this incident is for students, families, and staff alike.”

District spokesperson John Sasaki said during the news conference that all schools on the campus will be closed “for the time being” in order to make repairs.

“Can you imagine the kind of recovery you have to have to just get in and study and learn in school when you have to deal with this kind of trauma?” Sasaki said. “We know that this is going to affect a lot of people in our school over at the King Estates campus for a long time.”

Feldman said despite the shock of attack, he and others on his campus want to move past it.

“The mood is one of both sadness and resiliency,” he said. “We as a school will be resilient. We’re in this together.”