SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A student was injured in a shooting at a high school in Santa Rosa Tuesday morning and a fellow student has been arrested, according to police.
The shooting happened just outside of Ridgway High School, a continuation school adjacent to Santa Rosa High School and Santa Rosa Junior College. All three campuses were place on lockdown after the shooting, Santa Rosa police said.
There was no active shooter situation and a sweep of the campuses did not turn up a weapon, according to police. The lockdowns were lifted by approximately 11:30 a.m.
All school lockdowns lifted. Police conducted a thorough sweep of the campuses. There is no evidence that the weapon is on campus. The suspect is in custody & there is no threat. Students will remain on-campus & continue with their regular schedule. #ridgewayshooting
— Santa Rosa Police (@SantaRosaPolice) October 22, 2019
Santa Rosa Police Capt. John Cregan said the incident was isolated, the result of a verbal altercation between the two students, and that there was no active shooter-type incident.
Tuesday afternoon, Cregan called it an ‘impromptu’ incident, isolated to the two students. It was also a big scare for three schools and the adjoining neighborhood.
“I was in my backyard, and I heard two gunshots,” said area resident Jacklyn Strange.
“I heard two popping sounds,” said another neighbor. “So I looked down the street and I saw two young men. One was running across the street towards the neighborhood. And the other one turned and walked slowly back into the school.”
The suspect student was quickly taken into custody once found on campus.
“The shooter actually returned to classroom, there on the Ridgway campus, and was identified by officers,” explained Cregan.
“There was a lockdown, so everyone was in their classroom. And all of a sudden the cops showed up,” said Ridgway student Sofia Ferguson. “They had their guns and started pointing them at us and telling us to stand up.”
Based on witness statements and video surveillance footage, the officers at the scene determined the suspect concealed the firearm in his backpack following the shooting. The backpack was then placed inside of a nearby vehicle and an unknown driver fled the area with the backpack and firearm.
Detectives are actively working to identify the driver and are attempting to locate the outstanding firearm.
“We have no evidence the student who left with the backpack knew what they had [in the backpack],” said Cregan,.
Cregam said the 16-year-old victim showed up at a local trauma center with two gunshot wounds to the upper body and was in stable condition.
Cregan would not comment on whether the shooting was gang-related.
The suspect was identified as a 17-year-old Ridgeway High student and was arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center for attempted murder.
Helicopter video showed SWAT officers wearing protective vests and carrying automatic weapons carefully searching the campus.
Santa Rosa police issued an alert at 9:12 a.m. saying the shooting happened just outside Ridgeway High School on the 300 block of Ridgeway Ave. Ridgeway is a continuation school located on the Santa Rosa High campus.
The newspaper described the area as the city’s largest collection of school campuses, spanning about 170 acres and serving thousands of high school and junior college students.
Once the lockdowns were lifted, classes resumed and students who wanted to could leave if they were signed out by a parent. Many parents, however, had already arrived, thinking this would have cancelled classes.
“I think it should be standard practice if there’s a lockdown for a legitimate reason, you just follow a certain procedure all the way through the rest of that day,” said Santa Rosa High parent Mark Illsley. “They should just make it a nice simple little procedure and just follow it through every time except for false alarms.”
Police are asking for the public’s help in recovering the firearm used in the incident.