OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- All new cellphone video shows the moments that children ran out of Oakland's BayTech charter school, escorted by police after gunshots rang out at the King Estates School Complex in East Oakland.
In the video, law enforcement can be seen in the hallways with their guns drawn in an effort to get students out of the school safely. At one point kids begin to run towards the exit. Many students tell us they are still shaken over everything that went down.
Six adults were injured after a shooting at East Oakland's school campus which houses multiple schools, according to police.
During the press conference, Chief LeRonne Armstrong said all of the six people that were shot were not the intended targets but innocent bystanders going to school or working.
He said two of the victims are in serious condition. One victim is in stable condition but the exact condition is unknown.
Three other victims have been released from the hospital.
Of the six victims, two of them are students, one victim is a counselor, one is a security guard and two are part of the school staff.
Chief Armstrong said there are at least two shooters and another accomplice related to this case, "but they may have been more" he said.
The chief said there were more than 30 rounds fired on the campus. "That is wholly unacceptable," he said.
He confirms the shooting is likely gang-related. But no arrests have been made.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff said "we have to do better" in Thursday's news conference, calling for federal gun control action.
"We have to continue to demand to people who have the most power to change like what happened yesterday (on Wednesday), to take that action," she said.
Rudsdale High, along with the other schools on King Estates Campus, remained closed Thursday.
"They will at least for the time being remain closed because of the fact that we have to repair a lot of damage on that campus that occurred yesterday," said OUSD spokesperson, John Sasaki.
Examining police, school district's preparation and response
As investigators search for at least two shooters and an accomplice who breached the front of Rudsdale Continuation High School before opening fire, Police Chief Armstrong says it doesn't appear the suspects used any tools to break into the school.
"We're not sure at this point how they entered, if the door was unlocked, or if it was already open," said Armstrong.
According to OUSD's 2020 Facilities Master Plan, the district has identified 88 school sites - including seven high schools - where security and alarm systems need upgrades. The King Estates Campus got a score 'two' on their Facilities Condition Index where the report indicates there is a need for $747,304 worth of fire and security enhancements. But it's unclear from the campus safety plan how the district requires the King Estate Campus to secure building doors.
"We're reviewing on a regular basis the security measures at all of our schools," said OUSD spokesperson John Sasaki.
District 6 Councilman Loren Taylor says the district's unarmed school resource officers certainly wasn't enough, calling on security measures to be upgraded.
"I know one of the charter schools, Baytech did have their own security guards in place to help support their population, but clearly we didn't have the resources to prevent this and we have to do better," said Taylor.
Resources have been cut in several ways. This year OUSD eliminated its police force at the same time OPD cut staffing. Specifically, 41 officer positions suspended who were assigned to the Surge 911 Response Team aimed to help reduce emergency wait times. Plus, another nine officers removed from the Traffic Enforcement Unit. Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced this week he plans to restart that unit.
"We do need to have as many bodies available to respond from what's budgeted," Taylor said.
Councilman Noel Gallo says OPD has enough funding to be adequately staffed, yet the department is still 55 officers short.
"The money is in the budget," Gallo said. "The reality is I want to make sure I take care of my youngsters in school."
In 2018, OUSD's Board of Education passed a resolution that required school staff be trained to respond to active shooter emergencies. The district told the ABC7 New I-Team teachers immediately went on lockdown.
"The staff especially but also the students acted heroically yesterday to make sure students who weren't directly affected were safe and those who were got immediate medical attention," Sasaki said.
Gun violence top concern for parents at Oakland school board, mayoral candidate forum
It may be the night after the shooting at Rudsdale Newcomer High School, at the King Estate campus in East Oakland, that injured six people. But for many Oakland parents, the threat of gun violence is a constant concern.
"You worry already, but hearing that, you panic as a parent. How do you get to them? What happened? You don't know answers. It shakes the community definitely," says Billy Bowling, an Oakland parent.
He came out for the separate school board and mayoral candidate forums Thursday night held at Castlemont High School, which is a mile and half away Rusdale. The shooting was top of mind for most.
Bowling says, for far too long, Oakland voters only get political rhetoric and promises. He wants to see action and accountability.
"We want to see action and that money being used. Where is it going? What's happening? Where are the improvements? Put out some spreads or some type of data that we can read as a public," says Bowling.
"We are all just tired overall of the violence here in Oakland," says Ermelinda Ortega, with the community group Families In Action, which hosted the candidate forums.
She grew up going to Oakland schools. But now, as a parent with students in Oakland schools, school safety is her top concern. She doesn't want a police state, but she supports having cops on campus and tighter security.
"Also, having schools closed at certain times. Not letting parents in unless you call," suggests Ortega.
"Supposedly the schools are really, really safe for kids. But it is not. As we can see, it is not really safe for our kids right now," says Elea Zarcuenca, who has lived in Oakland for 25 years.
As a parent of two, Zarcuenca is worried about the possibility of another school shooting in Oakland. She believes a strong school board should already know what problems Oakland schools face, and encourages the board to tour each school.
"They need to come and see the school sites, what are (the) necessities inside for our students," she says.
Lisa Carey, who also attended the candidate forums, doesn't have kids in school, but she says the violence impacting schools effects the whole city.
She doesn't support police on campus and says the school board needs to focus on updating curriculum and on food insecurity impacting families, especially in East Oakland.
"Start the school day differently. Pay people to come in and start the school day in a way that centers kids. That asks them, 'What is important to you. And to make sure that any parent that doesn't have money to feed their kids, that the money goes to getting food to their homes," says Carey. "There is something wrong with the money that isn't being spent in the schools. And in the city."
Should Oakland bring back school resource officers?
The former Chief of Police for the Oakland Unified School District, Jeff Godown said yesterday's shooting could have not been avoided even if his department were still active.
"The answer is no. We could not have avoided it. Remember we didn't have police officers stationed at every school. We would have responded to the call just like the Oakland Police Department responded to the call," said Godown who is now the Interim Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety at California State University, San Bernardino.
Godown believes that Oakland is going through a tough transition period, one that involves implementing more violence prevention programs that do not include police. One of those program is Youth Alive! That organization has 13 so-called "violence interrupters."
"Those are the people that can make real change. They've been there, they know what it's like to live here in Oakland and deal with the reality every single day, and those kids are more likely to connect with them, trust them and learn from them," explained Angelina Gutierrez from Youth Alive!
ABC7 News reporters Anser Hassan, Lena Howland, Tim Johns, Lyanne Melendez, Dan Noyes, Luz Pena, Stephanie Sierra and J.R. Stone contributed to this report.
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