Monday, February 6

Mass shooting at an Oakland high school injures six. Police search for attacker

Six adults were shot at a high school in East Oakland on Wednesday afternoon in a mass shooting by at least one attacker that left two victims with life-threatening injuries.

Police responding to the 1:45 p.m. shooting at the King Estate of Rudsdale Newcomer High School, on the 8200 block of Fontaine Street, found the victims inside the school. Two of the victims were carpenters who work for the school district and the four others were also affiliated with the district but it was unclear whether they were staffers or students.

Police were searching for at least one shooter and trying to determine the motive, said Assistant Chief Darren Allison of the Oakland Police Department.

The victims were treated at Highland Hospital in Oakland and Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, officials said. As of about 4:30 p.m., two had life-threatening injuries, one was discharged, two others were expected to be released and one had non-life-threatening injuries.

The King Estate campus where the shooting occurred houses Rudsdale Continuation and Newcomer high schools, BayTech Charter School, and is the headquarters of Sojourner Truth Independent Study, the school district said. The Sojourner Truth Independent Study does not have students at the site.

The King Estate campus is near an elementary school, Oakland Academy of Knowledge, which officials said was not affected.

Antonio Ramirez, a counselor at BayTech — a smaller academy on the campus— said he was just getting off lunch when he heard the crackle of gunfire. When a security guard yelled that the whole campus was locked down, Ramirez scrambled from classroom to classroom, locking doors and telling students to wait inside.

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“The reaction has been mixed, and I think that just speaks to where our kids come from,” Ramirez said. “A lot of them come from areas where shooting is part of their daily life. Some of them were shook. And for some it was another day.”

He said they sat for about 40 minutes until police evacuated them. Ramirez led about 30 high school students down a hallway he said had blood spatter.

James Baldwin, a violence interrupter, said he arrived at the shooting scene at about 2 p.m. with other conflict resolution workers. Their first duty: approach anyone who appears to be in distress, whether it be parents, crying students or frantic teachers.

Counseling people at a shooting scene requires empathy and conscientiousness, Baldwin said.

“Be cautious, and don’t try to invade anybody’s personal space,” he explained.

Council Member and mayoral candidate Loren Taylor, who represents the area where the school is located, stood in a church parking lot near the school campus where children were being united with family members. Staff from the city’s department of violence prevention and the school district were also there.

“It really needs to be all hands on deck to respond to this, as well as to prevent this from happening in the future,” Taylor said.

At Highland Hospital where some victims were taken, officials from Alameda County’s building and trades council were huddled together, waiting to hear about the status of their friend, who they said had been shot. Officials with the union, who declined to give their names, said two carpenters, who work for the school district, were working on a wall at the school when they were caught in crossfire.

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One of those injured was in surgery at Highland and the other victim had less severe injuries and went to a different hospital.

“They both took bullets,” one of the union members said, adding they heard the shooting was from a few guys that had an altercation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, in a tweet, called the shooting “a horrifying act of violence that has grown too familiar.”

“Yet again, our kids were in the crossfire. This cannot continue — gun violence has taken too much from our communities,” the tweet read.

Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted that the school shooting “shocks the soul — our schools are sanctuaries for our children.”

“The unbridled access to firearms in our country is inexcusable,” she tweeted.

John Sasaki, a spokesman for the school district, also condemned the violence.

“Obviously our city has had trouble over the years,” Sasaki said. “This year it seems that violence is more prevalent. That’s something that taxes all of us.”

Oakland has been suffering a wave of violence, with eight homicides last week alone. As of Sunday, the city had reported 93 homicides this year, compared with 92 during the same time period in 2021, and 69 in 2020.

This is the
second shooting to occur at a school
in Oakland in the past month. In August, a 13-year-old was injured in a shooting at a different school in East Oakland after a 12-year-old brought a gun and it accidentally went off.

James Jackson, CEO of the Alameda Health System, which includes Highland Hospital, said the hospital has seen a doubling of violent crime victims this year.

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“Something has changed,” he said. “I am a son of Oakland. I grew up in Oakland. This is not the Oakland that I grew up in.”

Father Jayson Landeza, a chaplain with the Oakland Police Department, echoed Jackson’s sentiment that something has changed: “For a lot of us who do this anti-violence work, we thought the ethos was that schools and churches are off limits. Now there’s this feeling that whatever ethos people had is just gone.”

Chronicle staff writers Michael Cabanatuan and Joel Umanzor contributed to this report.

Sarah Ravani, Rachel Swan and Kevin Fagan are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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