Shot fired at Tacoma's Oakland High School
Two students were detained after a shooting Monday at Oakland High School.
Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said a single shot was fired into the floor of a men’s bathroom at the school about 11:12 a.m, and the bullet went into the room below. No one was injured.
The school, at 3319 South Adams Street, was put on lockdown following the shooting, and investigators asked parents to avoid going there until the normal end of the school day when students were released.
“Your students are safe,” Cool said. “Nobody has been injured.”
Cool said three boys were in the men’s restroom when a gun was fired. Video showed them immediately exiting the room and school.
The boys went to two vehicles in the school’s parking lot which were already occupied by other students, Cool said.
All of those students then returned to the school.
Those students were questioned, and police using dogs searched the school for the weapon but did not find it, Cool said.
Two vehicles were impounded at the school and will be searched once warrants have been obtained, Cool said.
Kira Clark, a 14-year-old student, told reporters that she was in the room when the bullet came through the ceiling. She picked up the round and gave it to a teacher before she left the school with about 50 other students.
“I was very skeptical to come to school this week,” she said. “I would think it would happen with all the school shootings and threats lately.”
Parents gathered outside the school after hearing from their students. Tiffanie Jackson said her daughter attends Oakland and that she’d called Jackson immediately after the shot was fired.
“I’m surprised it happened,” Jackson said as she waited for her daughter to be released. “I’m just glad she called me and didn’t get hurt.”
Jackson said she’d been looking into homeschooling in light of recent shootings and that she’s now seriously considering it.
A friend who was waiting with her, Linda Jackson, added: “This is really scary. You’re supposed to be at high school enjoying yourself. You would never think this would happen in Washington. This is out of control.”
Richard Jones, another parent who rushed to the school when his student called, said he was in “shock and disbelief. My heart is still racing.”
Tacoma School District spokesman Dan Voelpel said a lockdown is the safety protocol when shots are fired in a school and that Oakland staff and students followed that protocol quickly Monday.
“The reaction by the staff and students at the school was by the book,” Voelpel said. Training for a lockdown usually involves scenarios where students are already in classrooms. But Monday’s incident occurred during lunchtime.
“They just went into the nearest classroom and locked down,” he said. “They did a tremendous job.”
The two students who were detained will face an emergency expulsion, Voelpel said.
“They don’t come back to school until there’s an extensive investigation and they can satisfy some terms of a reentry plan,” he said.
He said School Resource Officers are assigned to Foss, Stadium, Lincoln, Wilson and Mount Tahoma High Schools and that they make stops at Oakland and the district’s other high schools as needed.
Oakland has 190 students in grades 9 through 12. The school has a personalized-learning approach for students who might not be doing well in or don’t want to attend a comprehensive high school, Voelpel said.
“It’s an eclectic group of students,” he said.
The school also provides a daycare center for students who have children. Voelpel did not know how many children, who can range from infant to preschool, were at the school on Monday.
Classes will resume on a normal schedule Tuesday morning. The district’s crisis team will be on hand for students. Tacoma police officers will also provide a presence.