School had been in session for just over a week when Lissette Deleon received a text message Thursday morning from her daughter with news that no mother wants to hear.
“Mom,” her daughter said. “I’m scared.”
Police had locked down Balboa High School after a student allegedly fired a gun in a classroom at around 11:15 a.m. Officers swarmed the area armed with assault rifles and tactical gear. Rumors swirled that there had been a school shooting.
“Just be calm mami,” Deleon texted her daughter, asking what classroom she was in. “Baby everything is ok just stay in there am on my way.”
Students sat quietly in the dark and waited for over an hour as police searched the school. As of the afternoon, police said one student was under investigation for firing the gun, and three others were being questioned for assisting the shooter after the fact.
One student suffered minor injuries in the incident and was released to parents at the school, according to police. The student was not shot.
A ninth grader told the San Francisco Examiner she was in study hall when she heard a loud bang in the room three rows behind her and a student ran out of the classroom.
“It just exploded,” said the student, who asked not to be named. “It was really loud. My ears hurt from it.”
The student said the bang occurred before a bell rang and the class flooded out of the room, not realizing what had happened. She said the school went on lockdown as soon as she went into her next class.
Students said a lockdown announcement went out over the intercom warning them to watch out for an African American male with a Spider-Man backpack and a red hoodie.
Roberto Arevalo, 13, said a security guard told his classroom to sit on the floor in silence away from the door or else a possible shooter would hear them. They had locked the doors and covered the windows so no one could see them.
“I was just worried,” said Arevalo, a ninth grader. “But I wasn’t making any noise. I always had in mind that everything would be okay.”
School officials began letting students reunite with their parents at around 1:30 p.m. A school worker reassured a crowd of anxious parents pressed up against a fence in the back of the school that “your child is safe.” But tensions grew when the students were then allowed to leave from the front of the campus.
The incident also locked down the adjacent James Denman Middle School, Leadership High School and San Miguel Early Education School. Those lockdowns have since been lifted.
This story has been edited to include additional information.
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