CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. (KTXL) -- A lockdown at San Juan High School in Citrus Heights was lifted following a shooting near the school Wednesday.
“Mom we are in a lockdown rn.”
“I guess there are 3 people with guns on campus."
"Everybody started running.”
That’s what Rosa Jiminez’s daughter texted her after police surrounded the school.
“Later my daughter called me and said, ‘Do you know what happened?’ ‘I received messages, try to stay calm, don’t make noise,’” Jiminez told FOX40. “Then she told me, ‘ Ok I love u,’ and I decided to come.”
Around noon, while San Juan students were eating lunch, Citrus Heights police said they responded to the school for reports of “shots fired” on Mariposa Boulevard right next to the school’s track.
“Our officers were on scene within just moments and we immediately locked down the high school,” said David Guitierrez with the police department.
Officers said they later found indications that someone fired a weapon at least twice at a home.
“However, we have not found any victims,” Guitierrez explained.
Police said witnesses told them they saw three juveniles running away from the crime scene. One of those juveniles was believed to have run in the direction of the high school, prompting officials to search every student, classroom, bathroom and storage closet inside the school.
“When I got here someone said they do not know if they was in there, they are just checking,” said mother Quita Davis.
Parents were alerted and told to wait for their children at the Citrus Heights Community Center. Around 3:45 p.m., they were allowed to get their students at the school.
Police said they were checking surveillance footage and speaking to witnesses in the area of the shooting.
Students hide in fear
As police surrounded San Juan High School looking for three teenage suspects who shot at a house nearby, students were huddled inside of their classrooms.
"I just heard one of my teachers run in screaming that we were in lockdown,” said San Juan High School junior Stephanie Alvarez. “I've never heard of that, just never heard it. So then we run into the cafeteria said then say to put our heads down, to hide the most that we can."
"'Lockdown, lockdown!'" recalled junior Bart Walker. “And so like, we ran into the cafeteria and everybody was freaking out. We don't know what's going on."
One group of junior class friends, like many others, went from thinking all the commotion was a joke to an intense drill to something very serious that they may not survive.
“I thought I was about to die. I was scared," said 16-year-old Lavin Henderson. "They were like, 'Get down, get down. There's actually somebody on campus.'"
Some students grabbed their phones, recording what they thought at most might be a 30-minute wait in lockdown. But as time went on into the third and fourth hours, students started getting more and more frightened.
"We were on the ground and then our sister started crying ‘cause she thinks she's going to get shot. And then we had to comfort our sister," said 16-year-old junior Damien Hartley.
Aside from emotional comfort, four hours stuck in one spot meant teachers had to create bathrooms to provide students some physical comfort.
"Mr. Welch, like he, what's it called, he made like a barricade kind of with the desks and then he put a garbage right there and then he used the cabinet as a door," Henderson explained.
Finally, the lockdown was lifted and students could see their loved ones again.
"Getting the ‘you guys can go home,’ it was really good. I wanted to go home and see my parents," Alvarez said.