Friday marked 25 years since the Cleveland School Massacre in Stockton.
“We didn’t know what was going on. You heard, ‘pop, pop,’” Melvin Green, who was a second grader at the time, told FOX40.
In three minutes, gunman Patrick Purdy fired 106 rounds, killing five students and wounding 29 others, plus a teacher. He then turned the gun on himself.
“My cousin, Joel, he was in third grade and he was one of the kids that were just coming out of the classroom and he got hit in the stomach,” Green said.
Green’s cousin survived.
“I remember our teacher just grabbing us and throwing us behind her big desk,” Green said. “[She was] screaming at us, ‘Everything is going to be okay!’ At the time, it was more scary because the teachers were doing stuff they never did.”
The Cleveland School Mascare was the first school shooting in our nation. Green’s father was a teacher in the district then.
“He explained to us, there was never any program for school shooting. All we’d practice was for a fire drill,” Green said.
A man living across the street, who identified himself as Jeff, described what he had seen from his front porch.
“The next thing I heard, ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.’ All the shots were flying all over the place,” he said.
Jeff was classmates with the injured teacher.
“She’d jump in front of a train if it would save a kid’s life,” he said.
After 25 years, one memory particularly stands out for Green.
“My biggest memory is of Michael Jackson coming by here,” Green said. “It wasn’t like he just popped in, popped out. He was here a while, he sung [sic] some music. He talked to a bunch of kids.”
Those kids, including Green, who look back now and are grateful to be here.
“I looking at this, I’m going, ‘Damn. I was there,’” he said. “I survived that.”