San Francisco police took three students into custody this afternoon after one of them apparently discharged a gun in a Balboa High School auditorium.
One person was injured in the incident, but not seriously.
Police aren’t giving out a lot of details. Officer Grace Gatpandan told me that the department won’t say at this point how the gun was recovered, what the nature of the charges are, or what sort of injury was involved.
We don’t even know if the injury was caused by the gunshot.
Ingelside Captain Jack Hart told me that the police response “went off like clockwork. We’re so practiced at this.”
But Balboa was on lockdown for more than an hour, as worried parents stood outside near a back entrance, where police said their children would be released.
In fact, the students were released out the front door, making it even more confusing for parents on the scene.
Adding to the confusion, the SF Department of Emergency Management posted this statement:
The incident at Balboa High School involving a fired weapon is resolved. There are no injuries and the facility is safe and secure. The school is no longer on lock-down and students are being dismissed early today. Students are assembled in the football field where parents/guardians can pick up their child (Identification is required). Students cannot leave early without their parent or guardian.
Students were not on the football field, parents were not asked for ID, and hundreds of students left school without a parent or guardian present.
Gatpandan said the three suspects are male SFUSD students, but she couldn’t say if they were Balboa students.
However, student who talked to reporters after they were released said that the person with the gun was a first-year student and one student, who said he was in the auditorium at the time, said the discharge was an accident – that the young man with the gun wasn’t trying to shoot anyone.
“We heard the shot and then this guy with a backpack just starts running away,” one student said. The shot, students said, put a hole in an auditorium chair.
The Examiner reports that one teacher told her students the gun had been discharged in a rest room.
Police would not discuss or confirm those accounts.
Since all three suspects are juveniles, their names are not being released.
Team members from the Street Violence Intervention Program were on the scene from the start. “We are here to make sure there is support for the families,” director John Nauer told me.
We won’t know for a while how the student got the gun, or why he took it to school. We know already that even in liberal San Francisco, and in a state with fairly tight gun laws, there are far too many guns on the streets, and too many young people carrying them.