OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Another disturbing headline about the shooting in Oakland comes from the ABC7 I-Team, law enforcement sources tell us school officials have sent text messages to shooting victims, instructing them not to cooperate with police.
We're hearing it's a pattern, and some parents at the school are worried that a lack of action by school officials after previous incidents may have led to this escalation in violence.
Law enforcement sources tell the I-Team, Oakland police investigators have obtained text messages from the shooting victims' phones in which Rudsdale school officials tell them not to cooperate with police.
During a virtual news conference, the I-Team's Dan Noyes asked Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong about that information. He answered, "Our investigation will be thorough, it will be complete and we will exhaust all options to figure out what happened on this campus. But at this time, I will not speak to any evidence that we've recovered at this time."
He would not deny it, but Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki did say, "If you're asking me if our school told students not to talk to police, that is not correct."
Former Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente says, his connections inside the police department tell him, Rudsdale school officials have a history of failing to protect students, and that Oakland Unified has not done enough either.
"If you remember, the school district used to have their own police, then OPD was serving some of the schools with campuses, they actually threw him out because they didn't want uniformed police officers on their campuses, these things happen because we allow them to happen," said De La Fuente.
The I-Team's law enforcement sources tell us this is part of a disturbing pattern by officials at that school - a lack of cooperation with police, especially after one troubling incident just weeks ago.
"A kid was stabbed. He was bleeding. He was pistol-whipped. A gun was discovered at school. And yet the school district did nothing about it," said BayTech parent Mario Juarez.
Police confirmed in August, a student was stabbed and pistol-whipped at the school. And my police sources tell me that Rudsdale obstructed the investigation:
- School officials recovered the gun used in the attack.
- Kept it from police for hours, until finally turning it over in a zip lock bag.
- Sources also say the school would not let police perform follow-up interviews with students.
- School officials said, "They had it under control."
The news is so frustrating, especially for parents whose children lived through the shooting Wednesday. Mario Jaurez's son is a 15-year-old sophomore at BayTech, a charter school in that same King Estates Campus.
Juarez told us, "He's so innocent. He said that 'I thought it were firecrackers.' It makes me cry because I wish there were firecrackers."
Sources tell the I-Team that police know who the suspects are from that previous event, and are investigating if they're responsible for Wednesday's shooting. Some police personnel is angry. In their words, "People got shot and they didn't have to."
In response to several questions from the I-Team, OUSD Spokesman John Sasaki sent this email:
"After the shooting on Wednesday, Rudsdale High School did not tell any student not to cooperate with police. With regard to your question about the incident last month, our school staff at Rudsdale and other schools do not obstruct police investigations. Furthermore, any question about how the Wednesday shooting might have been avoided is pure speculation, and in this instance, the suggestion that OUSD prevented police from doing their jobs is false and inflammatory."
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