Shooting Threat Causes Lockdown


Nicolas Gorman, Mirada Staff

A former Jesuit High School student has been arrested in connection with social media threats that led to the lockdown of Jesuit and Rio Americano on Tuesday. 

This is the second major event involving police activity at Rio Americano with school being in session for about a week. 

A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson confirmed that the suspect had been arrested in Elk Grove shortly after making threatening posts around noon. Sources who know the suspect said that he had been expelled from Jesuit and has been attending a charter school. 

“We do have a juvenile detained and we don’t believe anyone is outstanding at this time,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Tess Deterding said Tuesday afternoon. 

A Jesuit student showed the Mirada a Snapchat post from the student that showed a pair of boots and the text “I’m currently shooting up my school.” He indicated that he was angry about being expelled.

Jesuit was placed on lockdown at 12:30 and Rio went on lockdown at 12:45.

Principal Brian Ginter recalled how his wife initially called him, hearing about the lockdown at Jesuit before Ginter himself knew about it. He immediately called San Juan’s Safe Schools office, which confirmed the lockdown at Jesuit and advised Ginter to place Rio on lockdown as a precaution.

Students were at lunch when the school public address system announced the lockdown. 

Teachers opened doors to classrooms and students ran into rooms leaving behind lunches and backpacks. 

“I was confused at first,” said senior Natalie Link. “Then I saw people storming into classrooms and I was scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen next or where the shooter was.”

Students rushed into classrooms following the announcement.

“My first reaction was ‘Oh my god someone is really going to shoot up the school’,” said senior Kirsten Richart. “It was a relief to find out that Rio itself was in no immediate danger.”

Some classrooms were filled past capacity as students ran to the nearest ones.

“There were a lot of students who were scared and a lot of them did not know what they were supposed to do,” said Mrs. Sumers.

Emails sent from Rio’s school office instructed students to stay in their classrooms and to await further instruction. Additionally, they warned that SWAT is currently on campus and instructing students and faculty to not leave the classrooms without a special escort.

Minutes later police, Sacramento County sheriffs, and SWAT flooded the school in order to confirm the school’s safety. Officers were placed strategically around campus until the sweep was complete.

The suspect was at his Elk Grove school the entire time, but a Rio student was stopped by deputies on the levee after he ran from campus out of fear of the shooting threat. Several Rio students said they thought the student stopped on the levee might be a shooter.

Overall, students and staff alike are proud to announce that lockdown procedures worked out well. “In this stressful situation, everything turned out really well,” says Ginter.

However, some teachers said that the incident brought attention to the need for training and drills. 

“I was afraid. Watching the freshman who were terrified and packed into my room made me sad,” said Ms. Seibel.

Amid the chaos, some teachers had more students in their classrooms than could fit.

“I think we counted over 80 students,” said Mrs. Sumers. “All the desks and every floor space was full.”

The lockdown sparked conversation about school safety that allowed students to share their thoughts.

“I noticed a lot of the students wanted to talk about what happened. The kids had a lot of insightful conversations about safety,” said Sumers.

At 1:14PM, El Camino went on a precautionary shelter in place because of  police activity around Jesuit and Rio. Del Dayo Elementary also went on shelter in place.

After one stressful hour, the lockdown was lifted.