Shots were fired from a car on the Venice High School campus, narrowly missing two students on the grounds and striking an art shop wall a few feet from a classroom door that usually stands open. The incident occurred while students were in class shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7.
The campus was locked down, or placed on “campus protection,” as students were held in their classrooms for nearly an hour as responding LAPD officers searched the campus. Nearby Walgrove Elementary School and Mark Twain Middle School were also placed on campus protection after the incident, according to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) spokesperson Susan Cox.
Venice art teacher Joann Carrabbio said that she had sent two students to the dean’s office for yelling profanities at each other across the room in Shop 4 near the western Walgrove Gate. Shortly thereafter, a white Jeep Cherokee with apparently three non-student Hispanic boys drove into the campus through the open Walgrove Gate and, after driving well into the campus, turned around and fired shots at the two ejected Hispanic boys.
Neither of the intended victims were hit, but one bullet passed through one boy’s sleeve, Carrabbio said. After sending the boys to the dean’s office, she had closed the classroom door that usually remained open, she added. Bullets struck within a few feet of the door.
English teacher Gregg Heacock heard the shots in his nearby classroom and telephoned the school front office on his cell phone because his classroom phone will not make outgoing calls. “They responded immediately,” he said, “and within half a minute the school was shut down.” Carrabbio also called the shots fired in to the school office on her cell phone.
Heacock says that the incident has prompted further discussion about campus security, safety, and discipline at Venice High – should the campus be fenced? (He notes that there are service trucks and other legitimate afternoon traffic through the Walgrove Gate.) Should there be additional security personnel and equipment? More stringent policies, such as re-admit cards required for students to enter campus after absences?
The school cannot afford enough security, according to Heacock. “It can’t afford even to staff a detention.”
Although it was reported that the incident had been recorded by a security camera on campus, the LAPD media office reported late Friday, November 9, that no arrests had been made and the matter was an “ongoing investigation”; police officials reported on Wednesday, November 14, that they were in a “delicate point in the investigation” and would not comment on whether an arrest had been made.