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Gunman Fires on Another San Diego SchoolAired March 22, 2001 - 4:14 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: In addition to the happenings at the White House this hour, we want to bring you up to date here on CNN. A late report coming to us from Southern California, right outside San Diego in El Cajon, California, another school shooting reported at Granite high school. This is in El Cajon, which is the suburb -- which is right adjacent to Santee, California, where, of course, shooting earlier took place at Santana high school.
This is an entirely unrelated event, however, in Granite high school in El Cajon, California. But it is an adjacent community to Santee, California at the high school there. We understand that two have been shot, and a suspect is in custody. You are seeing here live pictures coming us to from KGTV in the San Diego area, giving us pictures from Granite high school. CNN is continuing to follow the developments from this story, and we are going to listen now to KGTV and their coverage under way right now.
LAUREN REYNOLDS, KGTV ANCHOR: ... Santana high school shooting on March 5th. you can see people right now -- paramedics right now pulling out a stretcher, we presume, to get to one of the two shooting victims. Now, we don't know the extent of the injuries at this point, we just know that we have been told that one shooter is apparently in custody.
Montgomery middle school was -- in El Cajon, was scheduled to release students at 2:15 p.m.. The school has been asked to keep the students in the school until the situation clears. Parents are also asked not to come at the school at this time. Montgomery middle school is also located at 1570 Melody Lane in El Cajon, so parents, right now, police are asking you to stay away, as hard as that may be.
So, again, this is Granite Hills high school where we have reports of another school shooting. It is located at 1719 East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. There are approximately 2,900 students at this school, and it is part of this Grossmont Union high school district. As we all know, that's the same district as Santana high school, which had their school shooting on March 5th, in which two students were killed. Charles Andrew Williams, the accused shooter in juvenile hall at this time, awaiting charges for that.
So this is Granite Hills high school. The police right now are going through the school. You can see what appears is an officer, a security guard right now, at one of the classrooms. We believe that there might be a wounded person inside, because we saw paramedics pull out a stretcher and try to go into that area to pick up a person. We don't know who the victims are, we don't know if it's a teacher, we don't know if it's a student.
We know that there are two victims at this point, and we also don't know the extent of their injuries. A short time ago, we saw police on East Madison avenue. They had a man on the ground. The man -- I couldn't tell his age from looking at him, but he appeared to be lying on the side. He was bloodied. I couldn't tell if that was injuries to himself, or if the blood came from somewhere else. And he also appeared to be in handcuffs, although we're not sure if that was the shooter or not.
So El Cajon police, of course, are on the scene, and parents of students at Montgomery middle school are asked not to go to that school. The students are staying at that school at this time.
Let's go to Rhett Lawrence, photojournalist Rhett Lawrence live in Sky 10. Rhett, what can you tell us?
RHETT LAWRENCE, KGTV: Well, I can tell you when I got on the scene here, they did have somebody down in the street in handcuffs. Do not know whether that's a suspect or not.
Apparently, they have two teachers attending to in building -- in room number 82, I believe. And we are waiting to see what their condition is from up here at Sky 10. They are closing off a huge area of El Cajon out here. If you don't have to be out here, please don't come out here. They need the room for the emergency vehicles, and it does look like they're maybe wheeling somebody out right now.
REYNOLDS: So we think that it's two teachers involved in the shooting at this point?
R. LAWRENCE: I did hear that on the scanner, yes. They said two teachers involved, and one of the suspects is still outstanding with a handgun and a rifle. So, if you live in the area, please stay inside, unless you are otherwise instructed by the police department.
REYNOLDS: So police at this point...
R. LAWRENCE: All I can see right now -- also -- is loading one up into the ambulance, as you just saw there.
REYNOLDS: Rhett, a lot of the parents are going to be concerned about the high school students at this school. Do you have any indication where they are? We are not seeing them, obviously. Are they locked down in the classrooms?
R. LAWRENCE: I would guess that they are locked down inside the school, because I do not see a crowd standing around anywhere. Nobody is running around.
There was a call that the suspect may have been breaking into part of the baseball field, the announcer's booth. And we are waiting to see if they find that suspect. The sheriff is on the scene. They were here right away. And like I say, if you don't have to be in the area, please stay back to make room for all the emergency vehicles coming in.
REYNOLDS: So, Rhett, we have been getting reports that one suspect is in custody, but you have been hearing that there might have been two suspects involved, and one is still on the loose?
R. LAWRENCE: That's correct, and like I said, the first video that I got, when I got here, was of somebody down on the street. He was in handcuffs, do not know if he was a suspect at this time, though.
REYNOLDS: What you are seeing going on at the rest of the school, Rhett?
R. LAWRENCE: I see a lot of police activity. Closing off all the streets in the area, keeping all pedestrian away. And there's a S.W.A.T. team, I think, that is showing up little by little.
REYNOLDS: Well, we see the ambulance pulling away right now, trying to get what appears to be one teacher to the hospital to get some help, and we of course, hope that that teacher is not too seriously injured. It's a good sign that the teacher is at least transported at this point.
And you've heard that it's two teachers involved, right? No students at this point, injured?
R. LAWRENCE: At this point, that's what I've heard. There were two victims and I did hear them say that they had two injured teachers in room 82.
REYNOLDS: OK. Two injured teachers in room 82. And about that baseball field, they think that the suspects might have been breaking into the baseball field?
R. LAWRENCE: Yes. As I pan up a little bit, you'll see there's a baseball diamond over here, and somewhere in there is an announcer's booth, and they thought that they saw somebody trying to get in there.
REYNOLDS: And that's pretty close to the room where these two teachers were injured?
R. LAWRENCE: The length of the baseball field, yes.
REYNOLDS: So very close.
And we, of course, don't know if those teachers saw and tried to intervene, but you're saying that the outstanding suspect may be armed with a handgun and a rifle, as well.
R. LAWRENCE: That's correct. He was last seen with a handgun and a rifle, and I believe is wearing a black shirt.
REYNOLDS: OK. We don't have any confirmation of this information at this point, but we have been told that there has been a school shooting at Granite Hills High School. We believe that two individuals have been shot. We have unconfirmed reports that those are two teachers that were in a building.
This high school is located in the same district as Grossmont -- the Grossmont Union High School district, which is the same one as Santana High School, which had their school shooting on March 5th, in which two people were killed and 13 people were wounded.
Of course, law enforcement would appreciate if people stay out of this area at this point. They are combing the area, perhaps looking for one outstanding suspect who may be armed with a handgun or a rifle. We have also been told that another suspect is in custody. We actually saw live from Sky 10.
We have Jeff from Heartland Fire on the phone. Jeff, what can you tell us at this point?
Jeff, are you there?
OK, we'll come right back to Jeff. Technical difficulties at this point.
Granite Hills High School is located at 1719 East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. There are approximately 2,900 students at this school. And also, Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon was scheduled to release students today at 2:15 p.m. The school has been asked to keep the students away from the school -- to keep the students in the school. And, parents, please stay away at this point.
Let's go back to Jeff at Heartland Fire. Jeff, what can you tell us?
JEFF, HEARTLAND FIRE COMMUNICATIONS: Well, we're -- the information we have is very preliminary. The call came in about 12:54 for a report of a shooting at the high school. Currently we do have one patient being transported to the hospital.
We have another number of additional ambulances have been sent to the scene, mostly to a staging location. They've also had a medical helicopter launched, and it's unknown if it's for an actual patient transport, or whether it's more for standby services at this time. The El Cajon Fire Department has made those resource requests. They're all at the scene at this time. And we're just standing by. We haven't received a direct number of -- count of patients, or if more than one person is actually injured at this point.
REYNOLDS: OK, but you do know for sure that one person is injured. You don't know that, perhaps, if there's a second person? That's what we've been hearing...
JEFF: We don't have information direct from our incident commander confirming that right now. And only one ambulance has reported back to us that they're transporting a single patient to the hospital at this time.
REYNOLDS: Do you have any information about if that single patient is a teacher or a student?
JEFF: No, we don't have any demographics. We haven't received any information about the patient at this point.
REYNOLDS: OK, we've been heard that there -- a half dozen shots have been fired, and we're watching Sky 10 right now. It looks like students are being escorted away from the school. They're holding each other and obviously look distraught.
Bob Lawrence joins us now. Jeff, if you would hang on to the phone -- if you're able to do that, we would appreciate it.
BOB LAWRENCE, KGTV CORRESPONDENT: We just wanted to bring some people -- some updated information. These students here are going to be evacuated to Montgomery Middle School, which is right across the street from Granite Hills High School. Montgomery Middle School is also in a lockdown. Students there are going to be held for a little bit. Students here at Granite High are being escorted right next door to Montgomery Middle School, which is, again, across the street.
Madison Elementary School, which is also in the complex is -- we're not quite sure of the status of the elementary school. But all three schools are right within a block of one another. They're at the Kennedy Park Center. So all three schools are in the right area.
And apparently, where the shooting apparently took place, was in the -- by the senior parking lot, which is just directly across the street from Montgomery Middle School. So a lot of students.
And in fact, the middle school normally lets out here in about 45 minutes, and so parents are going to be wondering how to get there, too. We're going to try to get that information, as well, to you. I know...
REYNOLDS: A lot of parents.
B. LAWRENCE: Yeah, my wife is on the road as we speak, trying to get our two boys out of the Montgomery Middle School. So that's where we -- that's where those students are going from Granite Hills, and that's, I guess, where they're going to have a staging area.
REYNOLDS: OK, let's go back out live to a photojournalist Rhett Lawrence over the scene in Sky 10.
Rhett, what can you tell us?
R. LAWRENCE: Well, I can tell you that they are staging the SWAT people, and also they are bringing out students. And can't tell where they're taking the students, but they are taking them out of the school. We can see here, people are congregating in the quad right by the main office. I have not heard an update on how many victims. I did, however, hear that the Heartland Fire saying that they transported one. Don't know if there's still one in there.
And the El Cajon P.D. is getting ready to move this incident to another frequency while they do their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) search. They're going to from door to door, building to building.
REYNOLDS: Rhett, what do you see from students? How are they acting?
R. LAWRENCE: They were acting calm. When they walked out, they walked in two single-file lines, following each other. Walked right out past the front of the school. They didn't seem to be in a hurry.
B. LAWRENCE: All right. Rhett, we want to keep you on hold there, for just a minute. I want to get to Doris Hartman. Doris, can you hear us?
DORIS HARTMAN, EL CAJON RESIDENT: I can.
B. LAWRENCE: Doris lives across the street. Are you on Granite Hills Drive?
HARTMAN: No, I'm on Madison.
B. LAWRENCE: You're on Madison.
HARTMAN: Right across from Granite Hill's auditorium.
B. LAWRENCE: Tell me, were you home, obviously, at the time?
HARTMAN: Yes, I was.
B. LAWRENCE: Tell me what happened.
HARTMAN: I didn't know nothing until I heard the helicopters and the police cars.
B. LAWRENCE: OK, so -- nothing was really out of the ordinary until all of a sudden you started hearing police cars and helicopters?
HARTMAN: That's right. So then I had a friend that called me and told me what was going on, so I quick tuned in.
REYNOLDS: Doris, are there any students outside your house?
HARTMAN: No, there isn't.
REYNOLDS: Do you see them being evacuated?
HARTMAN: No, I'm down pretty far.
REYNOLDS: So you didn't even hear the shots.
HARTMAN: No, I did not. And I've lived here since 1966 and it's been a very, very nice neighborhood.
REYNOLDS: Oh, I'm sure it is, Doris.
B. LAWRENCE: As it has, and here we are again, as was -- as is. Santana High School in Santee, it also is a nice neighborhood, and here we are again. Your home, I'm guessing now, is that -- we're looking at pictures now from Sky 10. Right there on the left is Kennedy Park. Your home faces the front of Granite Hills High School?
HARTMAN: Yes. We're 1750, right across from the auditorium.
REYNOLDS: Now, have you been told to staying your house?
HARTMAN: No, but I've got my daughter's locks, and I'm in here with my two great-grandchild babysitting.
REYNOLDS: Absolutely. Good idea. You stay inside.
B. LAWRENCE: Thank you much. Doris Hartman, living across the street.
There again, once again you see students being evacuated. And they --reportedly going to go to Montgomery Middle School. Mark Matthews, 10 News reporter Mark Matthews has arrived at Granite Hills -- Mark?
MARK MATTHEWS, KGTV CORRESPONDENT: Ryan Carillo is a sophomore who heard the shots. Brian, tell me what happened.
RYAN CARILLO, GRANITE HIGH STUDENT: I was walking from the bathroom and I heard the shots ring off, and it sounded like an explosion from a chemistry class or something, so I didn't think nothing of it, until it was two shots, and then it was a couple more. So when I heard the other ones go off, I just ran to the park because I didn't want to get hit.
MATTHEWS: You heard four shots?
CARILLO: I heard two shots and then probably about five more.
MATTHEWS: And which class were you in?
CARILLO: I was -- I was a T.A. for a teacher and I was going to the bathroom.
MATTHEWS: Which part of the campus?
CARILLO: It was just close to this crossing here. I mean, not very -- it was by the office.
MATTHEWS: Near the office.
MATTHEWS: All right. And you have heard anything about who was shot?
CARILLO: I have heard nothing of what.
MATTHEWS: Thanks very much.
CARILLO: I heard the weapons he had -- the rifled and a handgun, but nothing else.
MATTHEWS: Ryan Carillo, sophomore here at the school, said he heard four shots near the office. And we will be checking with others who witnessed or heard what happened here as soon as we can get that information.
B. LAWRENCE: Mark? Yeah, I just wanted to interrupt you there. From where you were standing there, as you were looking at us -- is Kennedy Park there to your left? Is the park over to your left?
MATTHEWS: Yes, right behind us.
B. LAWRENCE: Do you see students staging over there?
MATTHEWS: Well, from here we're blocked by the building, but there are an awful lot of students going the direction.
B. LAWRENCE: OK. We do want to pass that along to our reporters in the field and also to parents who may be listening. Students from Granite Hills High School will be taken over to Kennedy Park. That's why parents can pick them up.
And Lauren, I think we heard also that Montgomery Middle School, which is right next door, and Madison Elementary School, which is right next door to it, are all on a lockdown, too.
B. LAWRENCE: Parents can go there as they normally would to get their students.
REYNOLDS: But definitely, parents can go to Kennedy Park and pick up the high school students who are going there right now.
CHEN: All right. For our viewers who are watching CNN, you are seeing on our air now coverage from out local affiliate in San Diego, KGTV, involving a shooting today at Granite Hills high school, this is in El Cajon, California, it's right outside of San Diego, and most interestingly to us, it is the suburb which is immediately adjacent to Santee, California, of course, the location of Santana high school, where the March -- earlier March shooting was that took two lives at that high school, where a teenage suspect has been arrested in that case.
In this particular case, we are getting information now coming to CNN that a person is in custody. However, there have been other reports, particularly from local television, that a second suspect might be at large.
We are seeing from the local affiliate coverage of a number of students being let out of the school. We understand that this a complex of schools, not only Granite Hills high school, but a middle school as well across the street in the adjacent area, so an area where they are moving now the young people from one of the schools into another, apparently for their own safekeeping, as police continue to operate their investigation there.
Here at CNN, we are also watching through the Web site of Granite Hills high school, trying to get the latest information and trying to give ourselves some perspective and orientation on the facility at Granite Hills high school where this shooting has occurred.
I want to bring on the telephone line now Dave Cook, who is with the El Cajon police dispatch unit. Sir, can you give us the latest information as your department has it? Is there a suspect still at large in this case?
DAVID COOK, EL CAJON POLICE DEPARTMENT: At this point, I think they are still trying to evaluate that situation out there. We don't have any confirmed information yet as far as if or how many people were injured, or anything about any suspect. They are still trying to work around the school to the officers, so at this point, I really have no further details on that.
CHEN: We did see some in of the pictures taken by your local affiliate there, KGTV, a person being taken away in an ambulance. According to theirs reports, they do have confirmation that someone was taken to the local hospital there?
COOK: I can't confirm that or deny it right at this point. I'm still trying to get information. Our watch commander and our lieutenant from the communications center is trying to get that information, so they can put out some kind of a release on that. Right now, we're just being inundated with calls and questions like that, and I don't have the information.
CHEN: I'm certain. What are you telling families, parents, obviously, of concerned kids? This is late in the afternoon, we understand it's within an hour of when kids were supposed to be getting out of school? I am sure you're getting a lot of calls from parents. What are you telling them now?
COOK: Just telling them to go to -- I heard you announcing some of the schools they were to meet at. this point, that's going to be their best bet, and then just -- I'm sure the officers and everyone will have their students and any information that we can gather to them as soon as possible.
CHEN: So you are advising parents not to go to Granite Hills high school?
COOK: Absolutely not. I don't think they would be allowed in there at this point anyway.
CHEN: I'm sure, though, there's a lot of concern. Is there a particular staging area you are telling them to go to?
COOK: My first indication was -- I was told it would be Madison elementary, just west of the high school, about a block down. But I understand now they might be having students go on over to Kennedy Center, which is basically across the street from the high school.
CHEN: Now, sir, earlier, there were some pictures taken of a young person with handcuffs on. You are saying that you do not have specific information that an arrest has been made at all?
COOK: I don't have that confirmation at this point. Like I said, the officers are still working all of that, and as they can get the time, then they will rely information to us, and our people that handle -- as a liaison, you might say, between the officers and any media, they are trying to get out there and get what information they can, so we can release that.
CHEN: And again, to our viewers who are looking at this, we are seeing live pictures from our local affiliate KGTV in San Diego, California of this situation under way in El Cajon, another report of a school shooting, and as you see, young people being led -- quite calmly and quietly -- out of the school there, the Granite Hills high school -- being led to a safe place.
Mr. Cook, we understand also -- CNN has received a report from the San Diego County sheriff's department that there were some people injured, that is from the San Diego County sheriff's department, again, that's a different agency than yours, but we also received a report from them that there was an "officer needs help" call, which precipitated this entire event this afternoon. Do you know anything about that?
COOK: I know that's what got our attention to the incident at first, it was the officer calling for help. I understand that there might have been two deputies at school for a totally unrelated incident, originally, so they would have been kind of the first ones to know about this, and then our officer put out help call.
CHEN: So what you are saying is that your deputies are not normally assigned to this facility or anything like that?
COOK: The sheriff's deputies -- they don't usually function within our city. They were there for some other, totally unrelated incident as far as I know. We do have an officer that is the school liaison, he works between the high schools in our city, and he apparently just happened to be at that high school at the time.
CHEN: And we want to advise our viewers: if there are any in the San Diego area, the El Cajon area, that students and parents who are concerned about students from Granite Hills high school and the surrounding schools should go to Montgomery middle school, that would be the adjacent school -- Montgomery elementary school, I'm sorry -- which is the adjacent school there to Granite Hills. That is the staging area where they are trying to bring parents and children back together.
Mr. Cook, we are seeing a helicopter on the lawn, apparently of the school. I'm wondering here if you can describe a little bit about the multiple agencies -- I guess that's a part of why we are having a little bit of confusion trying to sort out who knows what about this situation. There are a number of agencies involved here?
COOK: My understanding is -- there is our agency, of course, the sheriff's department, I believe highway patrol, there may be some units from San Diego police -- I just -- I don't know. At this point, from what I'm looking at, I don't have information on who all is out there as far as agencies go.
CHEN: But you have number of jurisdictions that could come together?
COOK: Yeah, they are all pretty close by. When something like this occurs, of course, like, you know, what happened in Santee, everybody just comes together, they help everybody.
CHEN: And again, since you are talking to the national audience here, just to give us some perspective, your community is adjacent to Santee?
COOK: What, ma'am?
CHEN: Your community is adjacent to Santee, California?
COOK: That is correct, yes.
CHEN: So, you're neighboring suburbs right there?
COOK: We are south of Santee, yes.
CHEN: Right. Right outside San Diego in this area. Have there been reports in the precipitating weeks of any concerns about violence, have there been stepped-up security at the schools in this area?
COOK: Not to my knowledge. We have normal officers, like I said, that work liaison, they're permanently assigned to the high schools anyway.
CHEN: When you say that they're permanently assigned, are these uniformed, weaponed officers who are there?
COOK: That is correct, yes.
CHEN: At all the high schools in your area?
COOK: They -- well, the one -- we have one officer, and he moves between the different high schools for our city only.
CHEN: For the El Cajon community itself?
COOK: Right, and he just works between the office staff and everybody, trying to create a liaison operation, so everybody understands what function we all perform, so we can all help each other if needed.
CHEN: I know that a lot of our viewers are just joining us, it is late in the afternoon Eastern time, a little bit earlier, about 1:30 your time out there on West Coast.
If can you put together a little picture for us, sir, about whatever information you are able to give us at this point?
COOK: Just at 12:54 p.m. our time, officer put out "officer needs help," and there were shots fired at Granite Hills high school, and multiple agencies responded. At this point, that is all I have. And also, at this point, I really have a lot of other calls I have to get to here, so I apologize for that.
CHEN: I understand, sir, and we appreciate all of your time and the information that you are able to give us. Dave Cook of the El Cajon police dispatch unit, and that's local police there in El Cajon.
Just to bring our viewers up to date, and if you're just joining us now and trying to follow up on the story, the situation is this: there's been a report of a school shootings at Granite Hills high school in El Cajon. This is a suburban area of San Diego, and it is a suburban community which is immediately adjacent to Santee, California, where of course, the Santana high school shooting occurred earlier. You will recall that two young people died in the course of that shooting.
Now we are looking at pictures from a local affiliate in San Diego, KGTV, they have been watching all the activity at Granite Hills high school today. It's a school of about 2,900 students, we understand. Pretty large school, also adjacent to a middle school and an elementary school within a couple of blocks area, that's a pretty big facility of schools there, and of course, quite a number of children.
We are looking at pictures now -- this appears to be some emergency workers working with young people on a tarp area, but the only information that we were given is from the San Diego County sheriff's department, saying that there were a couple people injured. They did not specify whether those were students injured, faculty injured, who it might be that was injured.
We also have received reports, and -- all right, we want to shift gears a little bit, and go to our affiliate KUSI. We understand they're talking to a witness of the shooting, let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... heard another round of six or seven shots go off, and we saw students -- what appeared to be students running out of the back of the school, heading out behind the far backstops, away from where the ambulances are in front of the high school.
TRACY MARTINEZ, KUSI CORRESPONDENT: You immediately rushed down here. Have you been able to get any more information on it other than that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There is parents all over the place, everybody is on the cell phones. One mother was standing here with her daughter, who was actually in one of the classrooms, talking to her on a cell phone, and really, nobody -- I have talked to a couple of police officers, nobody's quite sure what's really going on, the sergeant doesn't even really know yet. They just know that there may be one still at large.
MARTINEZ: Thank you so much. Once again, Granite Hills is in lockdown. At least five or six shots rang out this morning, shortly after fifth period. We are hearing reports that three people may have been shot; two may have been teachers and one may have been a student. About 15 minutes ago, we saw some students were being led out of the school. We understand that they are being sent to Montgomery Elementary School to meet up with their parents.
Once again, a number of parents have shown up here; some have been able to get through on their cell phones and have been able to talk to their children that are in lockdown in these classrooms, but again, a very tense situation -- Christine.
FEMALE KUSI ANCHOR: OK, Tracy, thank you very much. Now, at this point, that staging area at the elementary school; are parents being allowed in to take their children out or must they stay and talk to police at this point?
MARTINEZ: Christine, we haven't had a chance to go over there yet, but what I have heard from police officers, is that that is an area set up specifically so that parents can meet up with their children.
FEMALE KUSI ANCHOR: What are you hearing from students there on the scene?
CHEN: All right, CNN is watching some of our local affiliates in the San Diego area. We just heard from KUSI; we're also seeing these pictures from KGTV in the area of San Diego right around El Cajon, California, where there have been reports today of another school shooting at a local school there, Granite Hills High School.
There are varying reports; the last report from the Associated Press was that three people have been reported shot, but it is not clear whether they are faculty, or students. We have not received a complete report yet on whether they are clear, that any or all suspects have been apprehended in this case. We understand that the school is under lockdown. There are neighboring schools as well -- elementary and middle school -- in the immediate area. Students are being moved to saver areas.
You see quite a lot of rescue and emergency personnel in that area keeping close watch on the situation and trying to make sure that all the young people are safe. A number of children, as well, are being taken to a neighboring school and being reunited with their parents in that area.
The latest information, though, from CNN, is that the shots rang out in an afternoon period at a high school about six miles from the Santana High School shooting in Santee, California, which occurred just earlier this month. The only information we have about casualties comes from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department which says that, no one was killed. However, there does seem to be some confusion about the number of injuries, and the gravity of those injuries.
We also had received reports from local police that they had gotten an "officer needs help" call from the immediate area of the high school. And that is what precipitated all the emergency crews moving in on the situation at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California.
CNN is continuing to follow this story; we will update you on the latest information. We will take a break here and return with more after this.
CHEN: CNN continuing to follow late breaking developments: another school shooting in the San Diego area; this time in El Cajon, California. This is the community that immediately is adjacent to Santee, California, where two young people were killed and 13 were wounded in another school shooting just earlier this month.
This event happening, however, at Granite Hills High School. There's still a great deal of confusion. There are a number of different police agencies involved in covering this particular incident, and there has been a lot of confusion coming from the different agencies. And CNN has been receiving different reports.
But what we are able to sort out is that a number of shots were heard at Granite Hills High School; it's a school of about 2900 students. It is an area where there are several schools in the area -- a middle school and elementary school, as well as Granite Hills High School. It is unclear how many people have been injured and how seriously they might have been injured. Local television stations did show somebody being taken away by stretcher in an ambulance. And at various points, police had said that there was someone in custody. There had been pictures taken of somebody being led away from the school in hand cuffs.
But now it seems to be unclear, even from the police reports, as to whether there is a suspect in custody, immediately involved in the shootings. As we say, there are a number of students at this school -- nearly 3,000 students enrolled at this school -- and so there has been a great deal of emphasis put on trying to make sure those young people are safe. They have now been moved -- a number of them have been moved from one school to another for their own safekeeping and local parents are being told to meet their children not at the high school, but at the neighboring elementary school to find out whether their kids are safe.
But we also had heard from some of the local affiliates out there in San Diego, that the school itself -- Granite Hills High School -- was in a lockdown situation, as authorities trying to make sure all the young people are safe. Obviously, we do there, see a lot of people outside, I guess as they move through and try to clear for safety reasons, these young people, into a safer area or a secure area.
CNN is watching all of our affiliates in this particular city of San Diego: KGTV, KUSI, XETV, as well, so you will see a number of different courtesies there to our different affiliates you're all watching this case.
We are now going to join KGTV as they continue their coverage. They are talking to a parent now of a youngster in this particular school.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS) B. LAWRENCE: You're working here at the station. Obviously, you've got a job to do. We break in to programming; we are talking about, God forbid, another incident at a school -- it happens to be a school where your children...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you, I wanted to jump on Sky 10 and go with them.
REYNOLDS: What are you going to do at this point? Are you going...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going there. I'm leaving...
REYNOLDS: You're going to go pick up your kids.
B. LAWRENCE: You are excused; go on out there and try to hook up with them. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, thank you.
B. LAWRENCE: We want take a shot here -- this is a staging area; much is like what we saw back in Santee in the nearby mall parking lot. The same kind of a situation is going on here; this is in Kennedy Park. These are students from Granite Hills and this is the staging area where the students are going.
Rhett, that is what we are looking at, correct?
R. LAWRENCE: Yes, you can see there is a lot of kids down here. A lot of parents are looking for their kids.
REYNOLDS: Rhett, is there anything that you can show us about where parents can go? I imagine traffic is blocked off all around this area by police. How do parents get to Kennedy Park? Do they have to park far away and walk up to get their kids?
R. LAWRENCE: You know, there is a street just -- looks like -- one block the other direction of Madison, I believe to the south. And that street is open. I do believe it's open to parents coming to pick up kids at Kennedy Park; it would be the back way in.
REYNOLDS: OK, and of course, if you don't have a student at this park, you are asked to stay out of the area. There is a lot of police activity going on at this point after a shooting at Granite Hills High School at approximately 12:54 this afternoon. The high school is located on East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. There are 2,900 students at that school; they are gathering at Kennedy Park at this hour. And parents are invited down there to pick up their students...
And as Jay Bacca (ph) just told us, there are some students still in class rooms. His son was still in a classroom.
B. LAWRENCE: And they will do that, until they go classroom to classroom, and do that, and we're seeing some of the reunions taking place here -- Mark Matthews.
MATTHEWS: Who are you waiting here to see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My daughter.
MATTHEWS: What is her name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jessica Harris.
MATTHEWS: And how did you hear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the news. I was on -- in my car, on the radio.
MATTHEWS: There are an awful lot of very anxious parents right now. I imagine that you are feeling a lot of angst about not knowing where she is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am, right now, yes. I Sure am.
MATTHEWS: Are you thinking about what happened at Santana?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, especially about what happened there. I'm just trying to see if she's okay right now. I still haven't seen her, though.
MATTHEWS: Some very tense moments here, as we are waiting in Kennedy Park.
B. LAWRENCE: Mark...
MATTHEWS: Children are filing by us -- yes.
B. LAWRENCE: I was going to say, if there is any way to determine, are police going through, classroom to classroom, much like they did at Santana, and releasing those classrooms?
MATTHEWS: We don't know. We have not heard yet...
B. LAWRENCE: You may be out of position...
MATTHEWS: ... we have heard that the police plan to do a briefing here in just a few minutes, just a few feet from where we are. We will be with that as soon as it happens. In the meantime, right now, we're watching some of the...
CHEN: All right, we are watching all of our affiliates in the San Diego area. We want to move now to KUSI TV. They have been talking with a parent who has communicated with his student, who is inside the school, apparently by cell phone. Let's listen.
MILLER, PARENT: ... yesterday, and I'm substituting there tomorrow, and my last period class had Raymond Serrato in it, which is the last kid that just got out of the hospital. Nicest kid in the world you'd ever want to meet was my first impression of him. And he talked openly about it, and it just made my heart heavy to look at the memorial out in the front. In fact, yesterday, after school, my daughter went over and put a card on the memorial. And it's just -- I'm less worried and emotional now, because I have heard my son is okay.
MARTINEZ: Absolutely, that uncertainty is the worst, I'm sure.
MILLER: Right, it is, but, you know, even still thinking about the Santana thing and thinking about this, it just makes you more angry that things like this seem to just happen as a copycat thing from something else.
MARTINEZ: Absolutely. During a time when the community hasn't even had chance a chance to heal, we are less than four miles away from the very site where that shooting occurred. What has your son said about the overall environment at the school? I understand over the last couple of weeks there has been, obviously, a heightened awareness. There's also been a number of threats. Has he come home and ever told you about any threats that he's heard?
MILLER: Not at all. As a matter of fact, I just subbed here, I think it was last Friday, and around the campus and all the kids that I see, of course, I mostly do PE, I didn't see anything like that.
And none of schools that I go to do I really see anything like that. But there is, you know, that one kid, or one personality that'll just pop, and you just never know. I mean, what people don't think about, that I was talking to about -- to somebody at Santana about yesterday, is people all across the country, and the world, they are thinking about the kids here.
Well, they don't realize that it might not just be a kid, I mean, it could be a teacher, it could be anybody. It could some wacko that walks on to the campus. It doesn't necessarily need to be a kid, and so I think the focus of just the kids -- on the kids, as far as the violence -- is wrong, because it's not kids it's everybody.
MARTINEZ: Once again, you did talk to your son, he is okay. He's part of the group of students that we saw evacuated a few minutes ago. He was taken to the little league field, but a number of other students are being taken to Montgomery Elementary School. That's been set up as a staging area for parents to reunite with their children, but Montgomery Elementary School is also in lock-down, you said, because you another child that goes there.
MILLER: They are. And I've tried calling there at least 30 times because, you know, like a plane crash or whatever, I'm trying to get a hold of Montgomery so they can get a message out to all the kids there, at least, maybe one by one, that their brother or sister is okay, but Montgomery's phones are busy, and I get through to let Josh know that Jason's OK.
MARTINEZ: Mr. Miller, thank you so much for talking to us during this extremely stressful time. I'm glad that your son is OK.
MILLER: Thank you. MARTINEZ: Once again, Christine, I think Mr. Miller summed it up nicely. This comes at a time when the Santana school community is just now beginning to heal, and probably hasn't even had a chance to heal, Ellen or Susan, and this has occurred so close on the heels of that tragedy.
REYNOLDS: All right, Tracy, thanks very much.
CHEN: CNN continuing to watch developments in El Cajon, California, this is a suburban San Diego community which is immediately adjacent to Santee, California where, of course, there was a school shooting earlier in the month in which two students were killed.
Today, about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, there were reports at Granite Hills High school of a shooting. Authorities were advised of it by deputies who were apparently at the high school on a completely unrelated incident, reporting that an officer needs help. They responded to that. A number of different agencies involved.
There's still a great deal of confusion about how many people were injured, but there were pictures shown on local television of at least one person being taken away by ambulance. There is also been a great deal of confusion about the number of suspects, or whether all have been apprehended in this case.
There were originally a report from the police that they did apprehend a suspect and a person was seen being taken from the area in handcuffs however, there is now some confusing reporting coming from the police department themselves, about whether that was a person in custody specifically related to this case or not.
At least two people, we are seeing in the various wire reports, have been injured, but it is not clear whether they are faculty or students. And it is not clear what the gravity of those injuries might be.
This is the area of Granite Hills High School, a school of about 2,900 students in suburban San Diego, and in the immediate area of the school there are two other schools: A middle school and an elementary school.
So authorities have converged on this entire area to make sure all the students involved are safe. They are now bringing students out. They had originally started a lock-down situation, and they're now bringing some of the students and faculty out.
Let's listen to local television station's interviews now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... over or trampled.
REYNOLDS: OK, we do have video of who we believe is the suspect. It was a man lying on the ground, this 17-year-old. And he was handcuffed even after he was shot and on the ground and basically, in police custody. B. LAWRENCE: This was -- again, this was video taken earlier who, of an alleged suspect, and apparently, when police arrived, the suspect reportedly open fire. Police returned fire and he was wounded, as Hal just mentioned, in the buttocks and face. He's now at Sharp Hospital, reportedly in fair condition, but we are not sure on the condition as yet.
REYNOLDS: And this video, right here, was shot live, from sky ten at about 1 o'clock. I looked at the clock as I was watching this happening live, and the shooting happened at 12:54, so police actually got the suspect within minutes of the shooting, so he was on the ground and in custody.
B. LAWRENCE: There, the victim's there. These are some of the others that are, apparently, were wounded. Again, we know of one other one, a 15-year-old, who was hit in the upper chest, as Hal just mentioned, by shotgun pellets. He, too, was taken to Sharp Hospital, but we just don't have the extent of how many. And that's or -- and there were also rumors at the time, too, there may be another shooter. We don't know that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The S.W.A.T. team is there right now. They're going through the school, but the latest information, Bob and Lauren, of course, you know, that early information is sometimes very sketchy and sometimes unreliable.
B. LAWRENCE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the earliest -- the latest information we have is the S.W.A.T team is going through the school. They don't believe there is anyone else, but obviously, they're being very careful. But clearly, classes are being evacuated one-by-one in groups, and you would not think that would happen if they thought there was still someone with a gun on campus.
REYNOLDS: Absolutely. So they're being safe.
B. LAWRENCE: So, again, yes, the students were being locked down in the classroom, much as they did at Santana when that happened, so they're going through the procedure, sadly, one more time.
REYNOLDS: OK, Lee Ann Kim joins us now.
Lee Ann, what can you tell us?
LEE ANN KIM, KGTV REPORTER: Well, and we just also received word, and I'm not sure if you guys have already said this on the air, that Montgomery Middle School is also in lockdown. Montgomery Middle School was scheduled to release their students at 2:15...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're going to let Bob Lawrence get away right now, because he as children in the district. Bob, good luck to you. Keep in touch with us.
KIM: Again, Montgomery Middle School... CHEN: CNN's going take a break from the coverage. We are covering the reports of a shooting and injuries at a high school in suburban San Diego at Granite Hills High School, in El Cajon, California. We will take a quick break and return to coverage in a moment.
CHEN: CNN continues live coverage of the school shooting situation in El Cajon, California, Granite Hills High School, on KGTV. At this point, a school district official is speaking. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BILL MCCLURG, CAPTAIN, EL CAJON POLICE DEPARTMENT: At that point there was an exchange of gunfire, the suspect was then followed into the roadway in front of the school. The suspect is in custody with gunshot wounds.
No officers were hit in this exchange, and we are still working through the process of clearing the school, making sure that we don't have any other victims, that we don't have any other victims and or suspects. So, that's going to take some time.
KIM EDWARDS, KGTV CORRESPONDENT: And it looks like you have a pretty serious and pre-planned way of locking the kids down. You had a plan already when this happened?
MCCLURG: That's correct. The student -- the faculty here is excellent. They knew exactly what to do. They went to immediate lockdown, we secured the campus, and then walked through and then started the evacuation of the students.
That plan has worked very well and successfully, at least at this point. And it helps us get control of the situation, where we have almost 3,000 students, plus faculty, it's a very chaotic situation.
EDWARDS: Captain Bill McClurg from El Cajon police department, tell me, when this call first came through, did you guys believe it? I mean, this is the just two weeks later.
MCCLURG: Absolutely. We don't take any of these things not seriously. And obviously, in this case, the officer put it out. The officer who was engaged put out the call for assistance, so it's a little different than getting phone calls with those kinds of things. Officers don't overreact generally, and we knew we had a problem.
EDWARDS: And the main difference here right now is that we can assure folks is that no one has been seriously wounded, so far as we know?
MCCLURG: All I can tell you is that there is no knowledge of any life-threatening injuries at this time.
MCCLURG: So, we have some injuries, and we don't know the extent of them at this point.
EDWARDS: OK. How about in terms of any motive? Did the kids tell you coming out what they had heard or anything about the shooter?
MCCLURG: We have no information on motives on the shooter at this point, other than he appears to be in his late teens, and is a male subject.
EDWARDS: And he was a student at this school, do we know?
MCCLURG: We don't know that at this point. We are waiting to find that confirmation.
EDWARDS: And I am sorry, you may have already said this, but one of the students told us as they came out, that there were some firing near or at the administration building. Is that right?
MCCLURG: That's correct. That's where the SORO officer was located, and apparently there was some gunfire exchanged toward that building, and engaged the officer who was there.
EDWARDS: And why was that officer on campus?
MCCLURG: We -- the El Cajon police department has school resource officers assigned to the campuses. This is his campus, the Granite Hills high school, so he is normally here.
EDWARDS: Thank you very much, Captain, I appreciate it. That's Captain Bill McClurg from the El Cajon police department and again -- and again, as far as we know, the most important thing we can tell you is that there were no life-threatening injuries so far. We will definitely keep you up to date. For now, we are live from El Cajon. I am Kim Edwards, 10News.
B. LAWRENCE: All right, now let's go down to Rhett Lawrence who is in Sky 10. Rhett, tell us what you've got right now.
R. LAWRENCE: Well, right in front of the school, the red pickup truck there, just -- from the left-hand tailgate, behind the tailgate, on the ground -- you will see a weapon laying on the street there.
Whether that's the shotgun that was used by the suspect or by police, I cannot tell you, but it does have one of the police department's numbers by it, which would led one to believe that it was used by a suspect.
B. LAWRENCE: The evidence, in effect, yeah. And the reports that we have are that a shotgun was used. We do know of a 15-year-old at Sharp hospital with pellet wounds. So, clearly the -- clearly the -- all right, thanks very much, Rhett.
We are going to go to Lee Lewis (ph), who is on the phone right now from the hospital. Lee (ph), are you at Sharp?
LEE LEWIS (ph), KGTV CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I am at Sharp Memorial hospital, and the spokesperson, Eileen Cornish, just came out with some condition reports. The ambulances to El Cajon -- fire department ambulances came in about 15 minutes ago.
Out of the first ambulance came a young man, he's been identified as a 16-year-old. His wounds are shotgun pellets to the upper chest area that are not life-threatening and not very serious, according to her. The second man out of the ambulance has been identified as an 18-year-old, allegedly the shooter, and paramedics told us he was wounded by police. He was shot in the face and in the buttocks, and he has been taken from the emergency room into the operating room.
And it appears that neither of them have life-threatening injuries. And there was some concern of another helicopter coming in here with a third victim. The hospital spokespeople just say, as far as they know, the only two that they are going to get are already in the hospital.
B. LAWRENCE: So, Lee (ph), a total of two people taken into Sharp?
LEWIS (ph): Two people to Sharp. Allegedly, one victim and allegedly the shooter. He was in handcuffs when they rolled him in on the gurney.
REYNOLDS: And possibly a third victim via helicopter, as you said.
LEWIS (ph): They say they have not heard that yet. They think they are only going to get the two.
REYNOLDS: OK. Lee Lewis (ph), live from Sharp hospital, thank you for that update.
We are now going to go to Fred Blankenship who is live at the scene with more.
FRED BLANKENSHIP, KGTV CORRESPONDENT: Chris Weston at Granite Hills high school. Chris, you were there when it happened. What exactly happened?
CHRIS WESTON, GRANITE HILLS STUDENT: The guy just got out of the car, clutched into -- he got down in, like, in a snipper position, and just started opening fire. It seemed to be a shotgun, and it was at least eight shots. One of them came two inches away from my head, if I didn't duck down, I would have been shot. And it's just kind of a blur from there. He reloaded a second time, and the second time I got out of there.
BLANKENSHIP: He reloaded the second time. You were in the line of fire. How are you doing right now?
WESTON: I'm all right, it's just -- a little shaky though. And it's just -- just -- the police were there actually pretty quick. At least like a minute, right after it happened.
BLANKENSHIP: This person opened fire. Do you know who he was?
WESTON: He seemed to be a senior that graduated last year. He was a big guy, just kind of a shaved head, and I don't know why he would do it. Again, it wasn't -- he aimed for our VP, Dan Barnes (ph), and I don't know.
QUESTION: You said he was in a snipper position.
WESTON: Just like clutched down. And just, he just started opening fire.
BLANKENSHIP: Clutched down. Did anything seem to set him off?
WESTON: No, seemed like he had planed on doing it.
BLANKENSHIP: And when he was taking shots, was it just at one person? Random people? What happened?
WESTON: Random people. Some of the glass in our attendance office shattered, and there was a girl that I was trying to help that had glass pieces in her leg.
BLANKENSHIP: Did you see anyone get shot?
WESTON: I think that there was one person who got shot. I didn't know who it was. It seemed to be in the stomach, or in the leg. I wasn't really sure, I just got out there.
QUESTION: You said that he reloaded, though?
WESTON: Reloaded a second time.
QUESTION: A second time. How many shots in between?
WESTON: There were at least eight shots that I heard.
BLANKENSHIP: At least eight shots you heard. How are other kids dealing with this today? I see a lot of kids behind you finding their parents, trying to deal with the situation?
WESTON: I am trying to find my mom right now. I don't know where she is, but...
QUESTION: Are you OK?
WESTON: I am fine. Yeah.
QUESTION: You have that shell-shocked look.
WESTON: Yeah, I think anyone would.
BLANKENSHIP: All right, Chris, thank you very much. Chris Weston, a junior at the high school was in the line of fire, barely got out of the way.
Behind us, there is a huge sea of people here, parents, media, students, trying to come together, trying to make sure their loved ones are OK. On our way up to the school, we ran into several parents who were running, driving, almost out of control, trying to reach their loved ones, and you can see a mob has formed here in this park area just to make sure that they are OK.
We are going to toss it back to the studio right now.
REYNOLDS: OK, Fred. I know that there are a lot of parents out there who are very concerned.
B. LAWRENCE: Absolutely.
REYNOLDS: And we try to ask everybody who is on their way out there to see their kids to please, please be careful. We understand that everybody is very emotional right now, but the last thing that we want is a fatal accident on the road on the way there.
And for those concerned parents out there, we do have some updated information. If have you children...
CHEN: All right. CNN bringing you up to date on what you've been seeing on local TV in San Diego. That was KGTV.
We are now going to go and shift over to KUSI, one of our other affiliates down there in San Diego, more of the shooting in El Cajon.
REYNOLDS: ... pick up their children until they say that it's OK and it's safe. However...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't really see anything like that. But you know, that one kid or one personality that will just pop, and you just never know.
I mean, what people don't think about -- I was talking to somebody at Santana about that yesterday, is that people all across the country in the world, they are thinking about the kids here. Well, you know, they don't realize that it may not just be a kid, I mean, it could be a teacher, it could be anybody. It could be some wacko that just walks onto the campus.
It doesn't necessarily need to be a kid, and so, I think that the focus of just the kids, on the kids, as far as the violence is wrong, because it's not kids, it's everybody.
FEMALE KUSI CORRESPONDENT: Once again, you did talk to your son. He is OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
FEMALE KUSI ANCHOR: OK. All right. We were talking about Sharp hospital and about the alleged shooter in this incident, as the gentlemen was just talking about.
We do know from reports that the alleged shooter is an 18-year- old, undergoing surgery right now for wounds to the face and the rear, shot by police but they are non-life-threatening injuries.
MALE KUSI ANCHOR: Yeah, and the 16-year-old was brought to Grossmont hospital as well...
FEMALE KUSI ANCHOR: To Sharp.
MALE KUSI ANCHOR: To Sharp hospital, excuse me, and there's one at Grossmont hospital.
CHEN: All right. CNN is continuing to watch coverage from our local affiliates in San Diego of the school shooting in El Cajon, California at the Granite Hills high school.
Joining us on the telephone line now is Jeff Fehlberg, she is with one of the agencies there, receive -- the dispatcher who received -- Heartland fire department, I understand, you received the call for help today. Can you tell us what you received in this call? It was an officer on duty at the school?
JEFF FEHLBERG, HEARTLAND FIRE DEPARTMENT: We received the call actually from the police communications center. It came in at about 12:54 Pacific time. They reported they had a shooting at the high school. We dispatched a paramedic, ambulance and an engine company. And they were initially told to stand back. And as they were arriving at scene, they were -- we received information from the police communications center that they were cleared to go in.
Immediately after arriving at the scene, a request went out for a second ambulance to respond. We had at least two ambulances transport away from the scene at this time. It's unknown exactly how many patients were on board those ambulances, and if there may have been some additional transports that just didn't get communicated back to the dispatch center at this time.
But at this time, we do have a number of ambulances still at the scene along with an air ambulance. We've set up a triage, a treatment center, at the scene, and they're assisting the law enforcement and the evacuation of the students from the high school class by class to an adjacent middle school. And they're there if they encounter anyone that should need some emergency medical assistance, and they're ready to treat the people there at scene at this time.
CHEN: So, Mr. Fehlberg, we have seen a number of people. We just saw, of course, as you see, these are pictures, actually, from earlier of somebody being transported by ambulance. We understand that there are at least -- Sharp Hospital received at least a couple of people who -- believed to be related to the shooting. But we saw some other young people being treated on a tarp earlier. Could these be lesser injuries? More minor, superficial injuries or trauma?
FEHLBERG: That certainly is consistent with, possibly what you were viewing was a triage, or treatment center. And whether those are people that had sustained injuries from a shooting, or just -- begin experiencing some medical problems as a result of the, you know, emotional trauma of the event. That's really unknown at this time.
CHEN: All right. There had been some confusion a little bit earlier -- and I wonder if you've heard anything -- about the possibility of there being a second shooter? Or at least concern that a second person with a gun might be at large?
FEHLBERG: It's not been reported from the police communications center to the fire communications center at this time.
CHEN: So you are not of the opinion that -- or you're not of the understanding that they are looking for another suspect at this point.
FEHLBERG: Right. There's a whole dynamic in communications occurring at the scene. And that, unless there was, for some reason, you know, the scene was not secured, that wouldn't necessarily make it to us at this time.
CHEN: All right. Jeff Fehlberg, Heartland Fire Communications, spokesman on the line with us from the San Diego area. Again, CNN following up on the shooting at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California. It is the community that neighbors Santee, California, where the shooting at Santana High School occurred earlier in the month. Today, however, the reports are that the injuries are to two individuals, are not life-threatening at this point.
Local police saying that there was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect at the school property with a school resource officer, that's the one assigned by the local police department to the high school there. was an exchange of gunfire with the suspect and the suspect was arrested. Then we received a report from the local television station that an 18-year-old, who was alleged by authorities to be the shooter, was brought to a local hospital there with wounds in the face and buttocks, apparently from police fire in the course of the exchange of gunfire with a local officer there. That individual arrived at the hospital in handcuffs.
There was also transported to the hospital -- Sharp Hospital, in this area -- a 16-year-old who received some pellet wounds to his upper chest. But authorities say that these were not life-threatening injuries. Two of those individuals being treated. And then we heard from Jeff Fehlberg from the Heartland Fire Communications just now that there might be some other people treated for trauma or lesser injuries on the scene, being triage on the scene.
CNN is continuing to follow this developing story in El Cajon, California. We'll bring you the latest details after a break.
CHEN: CNN continuing to follow the latest developments from Granite Hills High School, a shooting there today. This is in El Cajon, California. We had just been watching one of the local affiliates there talking with some of the students who had heard and seen some of the activities going on today. There are reports of a number of shots being fired out there.
Here's what we know from the local police and some of the interviews that were conducted earlier. There was an exchange of gunfire at Granite Hills High School. It was reported by the school resource officer, the person assigned by the police department in El Cajon to this particular school. He radioed in a help call, and there was an exchange of gunfire out there.
Let's listen now to a parent of a student out there at the school. Let's listen to them talking to affiliate XETV right now.
MIKE ZANER (ph), GRANITE HILLS HIGH SCHOOL PARENT: When I grew up, the only thing you had to worry about was getting beat up with your fists. Now you have to worry about everything else. It's too much. It's too much. It just puts you on edge.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: So you have two children at this high school?
ZANER (ph): A senior and a sophomore.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: I know this sounds like a stupid question, but did you ever think that you would have to deal with a school shooting at your child's high school?
ZANER (ph): No, I never did, but when they had the shooting last week at Santana, I was talking to my daughter, I said, "Do you know what to do if something like that happens?"
She said, "Freeze."
I said, "No, drop. and go." The shooting happened right outside her classroom. She saw the flashes of the guns, and I said, "Well, what did you do?" She said she dropped and crawled all the way to the back of the room. Because the reports were that it was just firecrackers.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: So you actually had talked with your daughter about what you should do in case there's's a school shooting?
ZANER (ph): Oh, absolutely. I think you're foolish if you don't. A lot of people panic and, you know, that's what happens. They start to the run away without knowing what the situation is, and that's what people feed on. The first reaction is to shoot something moving away. Drop, kind of find out what's going on, and then get the hell out of there.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: So your children are safe then?
ZANER (ph): Yes, they're both safe, thank God.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: Where are the children? Where are your children now?
ZANER (ph): Right now they're going with their mother. She parked a little bit closer that I did.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: How is your wife doing?
ZANER (ph): She's hysterical. She's an emotional person without this kind of thing. She's just hysterical. She's shaken an hour after it. In fact, my daughter called her from the classroom and told her.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: Well, sir, what's your name?
ZANER (ph): Mike. Mike Zaner (ph).
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: Mike Zaner (ph), thank you so much. I'm glad your children are safe.
And for parents out here that are still tuning in that haven't been able to make it out here yet. Parents are being asked to pick up their children, I believe it's 1615 Madison Avenue. It's another school, another parking lot area over here. A lot of parents have already rushed down here to the scene to try and pick some people up.
We can go over here and talk to some more people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Are you involved with this situation? Does your children attend school here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my son -- he doesn't want to be on camera. But you know what? When you say "No 10 commandments" -- thou shall not kill, steal -- you know, this is what happens. We're reaping what was sown 30-some years ago when they said: "Throw God out of the schools. We don't need him. We don't need his protection."
FEMALE XETV CORRESPONDENT: You know, actually, it's pretty interesting. Last week, we were sent an e-mail talking about some of the reasons that this is happening is because we've taken God out of the schools. Some people do feel that. You obviously are one of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, most definitely.
CHEN: CNN is following all of our local affiliates. We have just been watching some coverage from XETV, which is one of our affiliates in the San Diego area. We have a couple other ones as well. They're all watching the situation in El Cajon, California, the latest school shooting in a suburban area of San Diego, at Granite Hills High School.
Now we're using our facilities here at CNN to look at our interactive -- through the Web -- to the Granite Hills High School Web site. Our producer, Jaime Cloytel (ph) joining us to show us a little bit about what's happened -- the information that we have gotten from the police department and listening through on the radio communications out there in San Diego, California.
Jaime and I have heard some of the reports. They're reporting that there was some shooting in the administration building of Granite Hills High School. You can see, as you look at the Granite Hills High School complex, there are quite a number of buildings involved in Granite Hills High School; it's a pretty big area. The school houses 2,900 students plus faculty, administration, as well; a very big area. That's the administration building.
We also heard reports earlier, coming from the helicopter reporter we heard on radio transmissions that there was communication and some shots being fired in this area. They call it Room 82. It appears to be an area of a guidance-career center, break room. As well, we know in the area there appears to be a faculty lounge in the area. This according to the Granite Hills High School Web site showing us those pictures here. Jaime Cloytel, who's our producer, working on the big board area and giving us that additional information.
Now, I want to bring you back up to date on all that we have learned from the local police and through watching our local affiliates in the San Diego area. Local police spokesman telling us, that there was an exchange of gunfire around 1:00 local time. We are told that it's the fifth period at Granite Hills High School. There's an exchange of gunfire with the school resource officer, an officer assigned to the school -- Granite Hills High School -- there was a suspect who exchanged gunfire with the resource officer. The resource officer radioed in for additional help.
Later reports coming from one of the reporters coming from the hospital, saying that a 16-year-old suffered some pellet wound injuries which are not considered to be life-threatening to the upper chest. As well, an 18-year-old alleged to be the shooter by hospital officials telling a local reporter out there, was wounded in the face and buttocks, apparently in an exchange of gunfire with police. Brought in in handcuffs, taken by ambulance and brought into the local hospital there in handcuffs, and being treated in the emergency room there. Apparently, going to undergo surgery as well.
We've also seen some of these pictures of young people being brought out of the school. We understood that, even though they actually only thought there was one suspect in the case, they were very concerned about the possibility of additional injuries somewhere. As we saw, in the picture from the Web site of Granite Hills High School, there are a lot of buildings.
So, the authorities went room by room, building by building, through Granite Hills High School, as they tried to put together a complete picture and make sure all the students on the campus were safe. We then saw all the kids brought out, rounded up, and brought into the staging areas nearby. There are a couple other schools in this area -- a middle school, an elementary school as well. Some of the parents in this area were told -- of course, they were very anxious -- told to go and meet their young people at one of these adjacent parking lots of the schools nearby to make sure their kids were safe and that they could be reunited with their parents at the neighboring schools.
Witnesses had told the local reporters that they had seen a shooter in, what one described, as a sniper position. Now, this is one of the local affiliates now interviewing a family, obviously reunited with their young person. Let's listen...
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bit. I was glad you were there to talk to. My wife and I, oddly enough, had just been walking. We had just finished a walk. We had just walked by that crime scene and were at home a block away and heard the choppers. I went out and -- three or four of them. I'm going, uh-oh. Turned on the TV and immediately hopped in the car.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: I remember, Joyce, you said you saw the helicopter.
JOYCE: As soon as I heard the choppers, I went, oh my God. Because I had a feeling this morning; I know that sounds wild. But I had a feeling this morning not to let my daughter go to school. But she has perfect attendance, perfect grades. And I knew if I said that to her, she'd, oh mom, it's OK.
I said, oh my God; and I dialed the school and it was busy. And I was in the car and we were over here. I cannot tell you the panic. I just --this is a high price to pay for education. Everyone is OK. I think the kids are OK. I don't think anyone is fatally injured.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: It's your school?
JOYCE: It's our school.
It's a very good school and it's a very good neighborhood.
She did good. They told you to just get down on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was during fifth period and they told us to have a lockdown because we had heard the shooting. It was about three or four shots. It seemed like it was really close to us. And people were running out of classrooms that were -- I think it may have been lock out, I'm not sure. And then we saw some of the narcs and the vice principal telling people, get in the classroom. And we had an announcement on the intercom telling us to remain in lockdown. And they didn't tell us exactly what happened, but we just assumed it was a shooting.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: You assumed it was a shooting. Had you heard the gun shots at all?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we did. But we didn't know for sure if what had happened, if anyone was shot, if anyone was killed, or anything.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: The magnitude of it might be hard to think about now, but you knew it was a shooting right away?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People were crying and we immediately dropped down and shut the doors and locked it and we could see people -- narcs -- making sure everyone was OK. And then, toward the end, when they brought us over here, we saw a cop come in and he told us, everything was OK. There was about 50 cops on the campus, telling us to keep our hands up and show our hands.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: And they brought you out here and I assume you were reunited with your parents pretty quickly?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the front of the line. You know how soon I was here. You and I were one of the first here.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: You would have done anything to get...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have done anything. Yes, it went through my mind; I immediately got into the car and just went -- I, maybe I shouldn't say this -- but, it was tunnel visioned on getting to the school. I did whatever it took to get there. For all I knew, there was a gun battle going on and I was very willing to do what it takes to, yes, to help anybody. It's amazing what happens.
When I was there, the gunman was on the ground. I saw him. He was not moving. They did say that -- a couple of faculty said that it was a male student there; they knew who he was. He opened fire on the attendance office. I saw a shotgun next to him. It looked like a pump-action shotgun. I heard people talking about last rights in the background and stuff, and I don't know if he was going to live through it or not. I don't know.
FEMALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: We don't know that yet, either. But we do know Tara (ph) is safe. And I really appreciate your time. I know it's traumatic, and I appreciate you letting us talk to you.
We don't have an exact update. At least I haven't heard yet, you guys. You might know what kind of gun it was. But we do know, what everybody out here keeps repeating is, thank goodness, as far as we know, no fatalities or life-threatening injuries.
CHEN: All right, CNN watching some of our local affiliates out in the San Diego area as they cover the latest school shooting in El Cajon, California. The school is Granite Hills High School. It is significant because it is only about five miles from Santee, California -- it's a neighboring community to El Cajon -- and Santana High School where the shooting occurred earlier in the month, in which two people were killed; a 15-year-old suspect was arrested in that case.
In the El Cajon shooting, we understand that there are two injuries transported to the hospital. Obviously, those are the most severe. One of those injured would be the suspect in the case, according to authorities there, telling local reporters, as we are seeing the story unfold on local television.
These are pictures of authorities with an individual down. There was apparently, we are told by authorities, a shoot out between a school resource officer and the suspect in this case. It is not clear whether this person was a student or former student of Granite Hills High School. But they brought him down in the area right outside the high school. Granite Hills High School has many buildings; about 2,900 students.
The suspect brought down after an exchange of gunfire with a school resource officer,then transported to a local hospital. The local hospital telling a local reporter out there that the injuries to this person were not life-threatening, that the alleged shooter was injured in the face and buttocks and was being treated in the emergency room at the hospital.
Now, in addition, a 16-year-old, an apparent student at the school, was also shot with some pellet wounds in his upper chest. However, those injuries are not thought to be life-threatening either.
At this point, we do expect a news conference to be given at any moment. We will go live to that when it does happen. As well, you can watch this story develop at CNN.com and our coverage will continue after this.
CHEN: CNN continuing to bring you the latest information from El Cajon, California, the scene of the latest school shooting, at Granite Hills High School today in suburban San Diego. It is also the community which is immediately adjacent to Santee, California, where the shooting at Santana High School occurred earlier this month, at which point two young people were killed.
In the shooting today at Granite Hills High School, we have received reports of two people being injured and transported to local hospitals. One of those injuries being, we are told, the suspect in this case. The person who exchanged gunfire with a school resource officer -- that's a police officer assigned to Granite Hills High School -- in some sort of conflict in one of the areas around the buildings of Granite Hills High School and then, as you see in this videotape taken earlier, two individuals were taken to the local hospital.
One of them was the suspect who, we are told, suffered injuries in the face and buttocks in the course of the exchange of gunfire with the local police. The other injury was of a 16-year-old, according to the local television station, who suffered pellet-shot injuries in his upper chest. These were not considered, however, by the local hospital to be life threatening.
The alleged shooter was brought to the hospital to be treated in the emergency room, in surgery there; he was handcuffed on his arrival at the hospital. And local police did say that their first reports of the shooting came from the school resource officer, who said that there had been shots fired, apparently involved in the exchange of gunfire with the alleged gunman.
This quickly brought other officers from the various localities and agencies right around El Cajon, California. We've also received a number of reports from the students as they came out of the school. Granite Hills High School has about 2,900 students, and they were slowly let out of the school as authorities were able to move through the buildings and make sure that everyone was safe. Some of those students talked to local police -- I mean local reporters who were gathered outside as the police moved them outside of the school.
Let's listen to one of them and what he saw today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I saw was a guy that was walking down the hall, and I was taking a math test and I saw through the window some guy had blood all over his face and he looked like he was dazed or something, like he was going to pass out. I can't confirm if he was either shot or what, or wounded or whatever, but it looked like he was. And I saw other -- after that I saw a bunch of people running and just, and then all the cops came and everything like that. And that's when everything starting breaking loose and I just ducked and I just prayed and hoped everybody was all right.
QUESTION: Did you hear the shots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard -- I confirmed -- I heard six shots. But I heard from other people that there were two shooters, one down by the biology area where all the classes are, and one down by the math center where all those other classes are. And, yes, that's all I can confirm was six shots I heard.
QUESTION: Law enforcement officers...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: There were different reports from students who had seen some of the exchange of fire. In fact, one of the students had told local reporters earlier that he had seen the shooter "clutched down," as he described it, in a sniper position. A number of shots reported by other student witnesses; and one of the students had told a local reporter that he saw the gunman reload his weapon.
It is not clear who the suspect is -- the alleged gunman in this case. One of the students had earlier said that he thought he might be a graduate of the school. The local police have described him as being someone in his late teens, the suspect that they have taken into custody and who is being treated at a local hospital now. The developments moved very quickly. The first reports came just before 1:00 local time and within the hour we had already seen of the students being cleared from the school and moved off to the safe location, which is in the area nearby.
Again, Granite Hills High School being the school involved in this case. It is a school of about 2,900 student, plus a number of faculty; and in the same area of Granite Hills High School we understand that there are a couple other schools as well as -- for younger students, middle and elementary students. In fact, the safe area and the secure area had been positioned at one of the nearby schools.
Granite Hills High School, a very large school, scattered over a number of buildings, as we saw earlier on the Granite Hills High School Web site. And the school authorities there still moving through the area to make sure that all of safe. They believe that the one suspect involved in the case, they do have in custody now.
CNN will continue our coverage. We'll take a break now and return with more after this.
CHEN: CNN's standing by and continuing to bring you the latest developments in the latest school shooting. This one occurring at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California. Again, a suburb of San Diego; again, the suburb that is immediately adjacent to Santee, California, where the Santana High School shootings occurred just earlier this month. We are looking at pictures of, apparently the ball field right outside Granite Hills High School; a big high school complex housing about 2,900 students.
To recap for you, about 1:00 this afternoon local time, there were reports of shots being fired on the school campus. One of the early reports said that the shooting occurred in the area around the administration building of Granite Hills high school. Local school resource officer, assigned by El Cajon police department to Granite Hills high school happened to be within range of the shooting, and reported immediately that he needed assistance.
Then, according to local police, there was an exchange of gunfire between the alleged shooter and the local school resource officer as well. Other emergency crews were pulling up pretty quickly. After that, we've heard from some of the students on the scene who were witnesses to all this, that they saw police arriving within a minute, as the young people have said, at the time.
We understand now the latest information we have, is that two people were taken to hospital with injuries. One of those is the alleged shooter, according to police.
We are looking at pictures that were taken earlier by KGTV, one of our San Diego affiliates, shows rifle down on the ground. We are not sure of the caliber and the nature of this weapon.
The local hospital had told reporter there that the victim who was not the alleged suspect in this case was a 16-year-old who suffered pellet injuries to the chest. Those are not thought to be life-threatening. Not clear where this weapon came from, what its role was in the shooting, but this is the weapon that we have seen shown on the local television pictures.
We also heard the local television station talking to a number of students as they were released from the school. Let's listen to one of those students and his report about what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WESTON: The guy just got out of the car, clutched into -- he got down in, like, in a snipper position, and just started opening fire. It seemed to be a shotgun, and it was at least eight shots. One of them came two inches away from my head, if I didn't duck down, I would have been shot. And it's just kind of a blur from there. He reloaded a second time, and the second time I got out of there.
BLANKENSHIP: He reloaded the second time. You were in the line of fire. How are you doing right now? WESTON: I'm all right, it's just -- a little shaky though. And it's just -- just -- the police were there actually pretty quick. At least like a minute, right after it happened.
BLANKENSHIP: This person opened fire. Do you know who he was?
WESTON: He seemed to be a senior that graduated last year. He was a big guy, just kind of a shaved head, and I don't know why he would do it. Again, it wasn't...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: All right. We want to move now to a press conference being given by the local police authorities under way right now. Let's listen.
MCCLURG: ... working on all of those things and still only have one suspect. To the best of our information, there's one suspect involved. That suspect is one of the people transported with gunshot wounds.
We know that approximately 12:45 this afternoon, the El Cajon police department received radio transmission from our school resource officer, officer Richard Agundez on scene, saying shots have been fired. It turns out that he engaged the suspect in this case, heard shots. Engaged the suspect, and they had a slight running gun battle at the school.
Suspect was taken into custody at the school. Also present at the school was the Lemon Grove sheriff's deputy. The sheriff's deputy arrived to assist the El Cajon officer in taking the suspect into custody. None of the officers were injured in this exchange.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the shooter?
MCCLURG: The only thing I have on the shooter is late teens -- late teens, male -- that he was transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and that we don't know his status at this point.
QUESTION: Of the seven injured, how many were hit with gunshots?
QUESTION: How much ammunition did he have with him? It's very fortunate that there was an officer there to stop him.
MCCLURG: At this point, we don't have any details on the amount of ammunition on scene. We do believe there was two weapons involved, and that the suspect had two weapons.
QUESTION: Of the seven that were injured, were all of them wounded with guns?
MCCLURG: They were not. We have students who had come to different injuries during the course of this critical incident. One back injury, and another young lady has a heart condition.
QUESTION: How many shooting victims? MCCLURG: At this point, we have -- so, we believe that there are four, two adults -- or one adults and three students. But basically, we have no information that any of those are life-threatening, some very minor.
QUESTION: Have you been able to confirm what type of weapon was used by the suspect?
MCCLURG: No, other than a handgun or a long gun of some type.
QUESTION: You said a deputy was on the campus. Tell me whether you had increased security at the school -- I don't know whether, Granger, that you would address this question or?
GRANGER WARD, GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: Through the El Cajon police department, we've had officers on campus in El Cajon jurisdiction all week. So, agent Agundez was on campus.
QUESTION: Did have you any idea that something like this was in the works?
WARD: No, sir.
QUESTION: Because we had heard reports that students were talking about that. Nothing?
WARD: I certainly have not heard that report.
QUESTION: How did you happen to hear about this?
WARD: We were called directly from my office and came here immediately.
QUESTION: We heard that the suspect reloaded during the shooting. Can you tell us about that?
MCCLURG: I am sorry?
QUESTION: Did you hear that the suspect had reloaded?
MCCLURG: I do not have any information on any reloading by the suspect at this time, other than that he had more than one weapon.
QUESTION: How bad could this have been if he had not been stopped so soon?
MCCLURG: That's speculation. I can't give you -- all I can say is having an officer on the scene at this time, the action he took I am sure helped a lot.
QUESTION: Do you have any indication for a motive for this?
MCCLURG: We do not have a confirmation. All we have is that he's a male suspect and he's late teens.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea of a motive?
MCCLURG: No motive. No statements. All we have is a male suspect in his late teens.
QUESTION: ... was it a teacher or a counselor?
MCCLURG: We have two teachers that were injured. One not -- got shot, the other one we believe has a very minor wound of some type. We believe may, possibly, is not shot.
QUESTION: Where in the school did the shooting take place?
MCCLURG: The information that we have at this point is most of the engagement, at least with the officer, occurred near the administration building, which is on the north central side of the school.
QUESTION: Do you know how many shots were actually fired?
MCCLURG: No, I do not. It will take us a while to figure that out.
QUESTION: Do you know what that total timeframe was from the moment the first shot was fired to the last shot was fired?
MCCLURG: We do not know that. We know when the officer announced that he had engaged the suspect, we don't the timeframes at this point, but it was a very short period of time.
QUESTION: Can you give us some advice to parents?
MCCLURG: Well, at this point, the only advice for parents here: we have the assembly area, we're trying to re-unite the students with their parents. We are trying to deal with all the issues, we have counseling available here with the cooperation of the district and the county support for anybody who is traumatized by the incident, and certainly anything like this does traumatize people, especially young people, and so we're trying to work through that with the school staff, and they are doing a very good job of assisting us and controlling those situations.
QUESTION: What sort of security do you have with the school?
WARD: Say that again?
QUESTION: What sort of security have you had at this school?
WARD: Especially, we have had heightened law enforcement presence on all of our campuses, and agent Agundez was on this campus, and has been here full-time.
QUESTION: Any metal detectors or anything like that? QUESTION: Superintendent, a lot of the students are very upset about coming back to school?
WARD: We have not had metal detectors on campus. As you might know, the Granite Hills campus is probably over 60 acres, and it comes right to the street.
QUESTION: Superintendent, a lot of kids say they don't want to go back to school.
QUESTION: Excuse me. This took place near or at the...
WARD: I would have to rely on Captain McClurg and law enforcement in the terms of giving those exact details.
QUESTION: Can you please tell us what reassurance you can give to kids and parents who are afraid to come back to school? This is the second time this has happened in the last couple of weeks?
WARD: This certainly is a major concern of ours, and we need to figure who this individual was, why they came to this campus. We don't have that information yet.
But I really appreciate the fact that we had the El Cajon police officer on campus who was able to engage the suspect almost immediately, and take him down.
QUESTION: As an educator, how do you feel about this kind of thing happening so frequently on our school campuses?
WARD: It is certainly something that makes us pause and wonder why we have a community, a society where this kind of violence takes place. And that it's directed at schools or any -- any place.
QUESTION: Do you have any ideas on what more could be done to prevent this kind of thing?
WARD: Right now, we need to figure out who this individual was and try to understand what the issue was. We don't have that yet...
QUESTION: You said that...
WARD: But I believe that we will be coming back and talking to the press probably in a couple of hours, as we get more information, and so we can let the community know exactly what is going to.
QUESTION: You said the student coming to the campus?
WARD: Right now I am very pleased that it doesn't appear that we have any life-threatening injuries. I was really pleased that we had an El Cajon police officer right there on campus who was able to immediately engage that individual, and was able to really prevent something further.
QUESTION: Have you had drills here to teach students about what to do in these situations? WARD: What happened in this situation is that there was an immediate lockdown. All kids were locked into classes, so that we didn't have kids out in the line of fire. So, that happened immediately at the school, initiated by the principal.
QUESTION: You said the student...
QUESTION: ... done in the past?
WARD: We have been doing this for over two years, in terms of making kids and staff better prepared. Unfortunately, we hoped never to have to use it. But if we have to use, we want to make sure it works well, and it did work well here.
QUESTION: And you're going to have counselors here at this school tomorrow?
WARD: Right now, I believe, school will not be open here tomorrow. Granite Hills high school will not be open, but we were looking for a community site where we can establish some counseling centers immediately, and be working with parents and students and staff beginning tomorrow morning.
QUESTION: And where can they contact to try to get that information?
WARD: Hopefully in the next two hours when we come back and talk to you, we can give you more specifics so that you can share with the community where that will be taking place.
QUESTION: OK, Granger, can we back a little bit. When you -- you know, I talked to you a couple of weeks ago, and about the reaction, and you said that it was a nightmare. What was your reaction when you got that call today, in the same district two weeks later?
WARD: I think in any place, whether it was this district, or anyplace in this country, I'd still have the same reaction. I'm trying to understand why any individual uses weapons and tries to come on to a school ground, or any place in the community, and vent their anger. I'm just -- I'm shocked by that.
QUESTION: How are you holding up personally? I mean, it's been a strain on all of us. I can't imagine...
WARD: OK. My main concern is the kids here. And making sure that the kids who were injured and the staff that are injured are going to be fine. And that the other 2,800 students at this school are going to be fine. That's our main concern now -- make sure that we take care of those who were injured, and deal with those -- the staff and the parents and the students here -- who have been traumatized by the event. That's where we going to get focused right now.
QUESTION: I know you can't release names, but can you give us any information on the people? Were they injured?
WARD: I need to head back.
WARD: Folks, there is not information that we're going to release right now. We're going to try and come back in a couple of hours and give more information.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Superintendent Granger Ward.
WARD: Thank you.
CHEN: All right. CNN is continuing to follow the story. We've just been hearing a police news conference given outside of Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California -- the scene of the latest school shooting, at Granite Hills High School. That is a suburban area of San Diego, and it is the community that is immediately adjacent to Santee, California, where of course, the shooting occurred at Santana High School earlier in the month.
(INTERRUPTED FOR BREAKING NEWS)
CHEN: CNN is continuing to follow that story as well as the other big story from southern California at this hour.
That is down in the San Diego area where there is the report of the latest school shooting, this one occurring in El Cajon, California, one of the suburban areas outside of San Diego. The area immediately adjacent to Santee, California, where the Santana High School shooting occurred earlier in the month.
In this shooting, however, we are told that there are no life- threatening injuries, according to the local police out there in El Cajon. Two male teens were taken to a local hospital. One of those teenagers was said to be an older teenager, a male person that police have identified as the person they believe to be the suspect in the shooting. Someone, a male in his late teens who was armed according to police with a handgun and some other long type of gun. That is the quote from the local police officer who spoke with reporters just a few minutes ago.
That individual was taken into the hospital after an exchange of gunfire. This is one of the weapons, apparently, involved in the case. Police are looking at that as apparent evidence there. The authorities are looking into that.
But in any case, the reports that we have are that an officer exchanged gunfire with the suspect outside Granite Hills High School. The officer in the case is a local police agent reported by police to be Rich Agundez, the -- who was at the location of Granite Hills High School for an unrelated reason when he heard the gunfire break out.
Let's listen to the local sheriff speaking now to reporters. BILL KOLENDER, SHERIFF, EL CAJON: We think, at the time -- it's sick. I -- wish I had an answer for you. I don't. I mean, we had a lot of copycats after Santana, as you know. We got some people on the Internet, we got the guy in Maryland, the crazy. We're just getting to the point where the families are kind of getting together at Santana, and now we have this. I just hope to God that it continues that nobody is in fact deceased. At this point it looks like there's not, but there is someone who is seriously injured.
QUESTION: There was increased...
MALE KGTV CORRESPONDENT: Sheriff Bill Kolender, I think, expressing the frustration that a lot of people here are feeling -- and disbelief that this could happen.
KOLENDER: There were police officers at the school from El Cajon. The officer needs help, call was put up by a deputy sheriff who was right here also. She was involved. I know there were shots exchanged, no officer or sheriff was injured at this point. So we're kind of putting it together again. It's just terrible. And this is a large school. And we think all the parents are advised that their child is not hurt.
It's a sickening feeling, I just want to tell you. It's very, very frustrating, and -- I mean, there's cops on the school grounds. What do you want -- you know.
QUESTION: It was a sheriff's deputy or an El Cajon police officer that brought down the suspect?
KOLENDER: As far as we know, I don't know if the sheriff's deputy fired or not, but she was there. I believe the El Cajon officer is the one who put him down.
QUESTION: Sheriff, you say there are no answers. But every time something like this happens, you've got to be searching for more answers somewhere.
KOLENDER: Well, I mean, we all know that our society has to have some responsibility for our children. They must be guided, they must be loved, they must be cared for, they must be held accountable. They got to have somebody who they're responsible to and somebody to whom they're responsible.
You know, we live in a place where you turn on music or television or movies and the solution is one of violence. We show this, and show this, look at the copycats after the one in Santana. It's a very sad situation. I'd like to tell you I know the answer; I don't think I do. I don't know who does. I mean, we all have theories. You know, 50,000 babies born in the States to a single mother with an adult father who takes off.
QUESTION: Do you think there was any resemblance or comparison between Santana and this, whether it be a psychological copycat, or anyone you were saying? KOLENDER: I have absolutely no idea, other than this guy apparently was shooting at an office where there's an officer inside. I don't know. I don't know.
You should support the El Cajon Police Department. It's the chief's responsibility and we're here to give him whatever he needs. I have our SWAT guys here, our homicide guys are here, the D.A.'s office is here, the El Cajon police is here. They have been training together. The collaboration is fine.
QUESTION: Have of heard anything from the hospital?
KOLENDER: No, I have not. No. They are going to have a news conference, I understand; someone said at 3:30 at that school over there, someplace.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts about, how to stop this from happening? If these are copycats and if the violence here is fed by the violence at Santana...?
KOLENDER: I don't know. What do you think? I mean, do you not report it? Do you -- I mean, I was having lunch yesterday and a lady came up to me and said that a woman came into her office -- an employee -- and said, I'm really mad; and I'm going to go get a gun and kill you and myself; all the employees there.
I said I hope that you called police. And she said, I did, and they took care of it. Well, we just can't tolerate these kids with guns. People are irresponsible with guns. People who don't care about their kids enough to hold their kids accountable. People who don't have control. I mean, if it was up to me, you start teaching parenting in the 7th grade and go from there and bring back some of the values that we had.
We all got in fights, but none of us ever were bringing guns. Somehow or other, this aspect -- this violence got into this, and it's heartbreaking. I tell you. I've seen enough, I think.
MATTHEWS: Thanks very much for talking with us. We were just told that the latest update will be at 4:00 from the El Cajon Police Department. We expect to have an update on those injured in this gunfire. In the meantime, we will be back just as soon as we have more.
Reporting live from Kennedy Park, Mark Matthews, 10 News.
CHEN: CNN continuing to watch the latest develops in the El Cajon area,the shooting at Granite Hills High School and two people injured in that. One of them is believed to be the suspect -- the alleged gunman in this case. CNN is continuing to follow-up on that story.
(INTERRUPTED FOR BREAKING NEWS)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHEN: CNN continuing to follow up and bring you the latest developments in two breaking news stories we're covering here at CNN this afternoon.
One report coming to us from the San Diego area, suburban El Cajon, California, which is the area right next to Santee, California, which is today, the scene of the latest school shooting. This occurring at a high school which is just about five miles away from Santana High School in Santee, where two children were killed earlier this month.
Today there were reports that there was a shooter on campus. The suspect that has been arrested by police is said to be 18 years old. He is a suspect that was injured in a shoot-out with the police officer who was assigned to the high school.
You're looking at pictures that were taken earlier as the school administrators and police there were able to clear the buildings at Granite Hills High School, and move students from the high school to a safe area, a baseball diamond which is part of the campus; a campus of about 60 acres there in the San Diego area, suburban San Diego area. Granite Hills High School is adjacent to two other schools, a middle school and an elementary school, as well.
We understand, from the local authorities, that the information is this: Just about 1 o'clock this afternoon there were reports of shooting being heard on the campus of Granite Hills High School.
There's a school resource officer who was on the scene and heard the shots, and then faced off with the shooter. Now the officer who was identified by the Granite Hills High School Web site as Rich Agundez, he's actually an officer of the El Cajon police department, but he is proudly named by the local high school, Granite Hills High School as their agent, the on-campus police officer at the school.
In the biography of him, on the Granite Hills High School Web site, it says that agent Rich Agundez was actually a former S.W.A.T. agent, then assigned to the Granite Hills High School and part of the El Cajon Valley High School as well. He has worked with the students at that high school as part of the local police department's effort to bring safety to this area.
You'd be able to get to this site, as well, for the Granite Hills High School through cnn.com., where you can also follow the latest developments in this story. Now, to give you little bit more profile on what happened today: In the course of the shooting with the suspect, the officer was able to bring the suspect in line. However, there was an exchange of gunfire, and the suspect, who was brought to the ground at that point, did suffer injuries to the face and buttocks. He was transported to a local hospital.
As well, a 16-year-old, apparently a student also at the school, was taken to the hospital with what were described by the hospital as pellet injuries to the chest. Both of those people who are being treated at local hospital however, were not thought to have life- threatening injuries according to the latest reports we are getting, both from the hospitals and the local police there.
There were other injuries as well. This is a very large campus and a lot of students and faculty there, 4,900 students on the Granite Hills High School campus, as well. Quite a bit of faculty, administration as well. And we understand from the local police, who gave a press report earlier, that there were a number of injuries, but all of them quite a bit lesser.
Two adults, three students, one student, we're told, suffered something of a heart ailment. Another one was a back injury by one of the adults who was injured, but not all these people suffered any sort gunshot injuries. There were some other injuries that were treated on the scene at Granite Hills High School. We also received a report from the local hospital. Let's listen to a statement made just a short time ago there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My understanding still is that we got the two of the worst victims, and that other victims are -- have pellet- spray type of injuries.
QUESTION: We're talking seven victims, total, shot?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a minute, we're not talking seven victims total, we're talking ten victims, total.
QUESTION: Seven shot, and two (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven shooting victims, total. Two at Sharp Memorial, three at Mercy and two at UCSD.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the 18-year-old alleged shooter, he was shot by police twice. Once in the face and once in the buttock, and it will be going to the operating room.
His condition is serious and we'll admit him to ICU once he's out of surgery. The 16-year-old, he had a pellet-type of buckshot spray wounds to his chest, his face and his arms, but only to his upper body. He's in serious condition. He's also going to get admitted to the ICU.
QUESTION: But you had said earlier that these are not life threatening?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are not life threatening injuries at this time, that's correct.
QUESTION: They could have some other real problems? Is it a difficult surgery that they are undergoing at this point?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
QUESTION: Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. They are, it is not, it is to repair gunshot wounds. We're a trauma center, we do it every single day.
QUESTION: Have any of the parents been notified, particularly that of the of 18-year-old alleged shooter, are they...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe we have been in contact with one family as of right now.
QUESTION: And do you know which one?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not going to tell you who they are, and I am not going to tell you whether they're here or not. That's all I'm going to tell you about that.
QUESTION: Can you just go over it for us one more time, I mean the ones that were taken to the other hospitals and what they (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. They were all gunshot, they are gunshot wounds who went to Mercy and UCSD. Three at Mercy, two UCSD, and apparently, of the same buckshot kind of pellet wounds. And the other ones that went to our Grossmont hospital were non-gunshot wounds, but related to the shooting. Stress related-type of injuries.
CHEN: All right, that adds to the information we have about the injuries sustained at Granite Hills High School in the course of the school shooting there today, in El Cajon, California. That hospital spokesperson saying that there were number of hospitals being involved. Hers, of course, would be the trauma center, and so it was delivering the information.
But she said that there were a total of ten injuries, seven of them related to shooting-type injuries, most of those being buckshot pellet type injuries, and three other injuries being treated as well, in some local hospitals, spread over several hospitals, apparently, with this large number of cases stemming from the Granite Hills High School shooting.
Putting it back in perspective here, about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, local time, there were reports of shots being fired at Granite Hills High School. A local police officer assigned to the school heard the shooting, went and confronted the alleged shooter. There was a bit of a shoot-out there. The officer was able however, to bring the suspect, almost immediately, into custody and had already called for backup assistance so other emergency assistance was readily available and they moved quickly.
Then the school was brought down into a lockdown situation. We heard earlier from the local police that this is something that had been practiced and told to the students over the last couple of years. Of course, we've heard about so many different shootings in so many schools across the country. This had been practiced and told to the students over the last couple years.
They did face the lockdown situation, and then the police moved room by room through the rather wide campus of Granite Hills high school, spread over a number of buildings and 60 acres, according to the local authorities there, moved through room by room to make sure all the young people were safe, told them to come out. One of the students said they were told to come out with their arms up over their heads to make sure that they were not concealing any sort of weapons, then moved to a safe area and then re-united with their parents at one of the schools in the nearby area. Apparently, there is a middle school and elementary school which are adjacent to Granite Hills high school, and that's where some of the parents were reconnected with their young people.
Some of the information that we are now receiving through the CNN wire services, we are also getting information that among the people who were injured, one of them was a teenager -- one of them was a teacher and four other teenagers were wounded. But then, we also heard from this latest hospital report that a total of 10 people are being treated in the local hospitals for various injuries, most of them for buck-shot type wounds, as described by the hospital spokeswoman, but there were some other injuries as well.
We've heard from local authorities earlier that a young woman who's a student in the school suffered a heart ailment and some other stress injuries were reported, as well as a course of the panic that ensued in the course of the shooting there in Granite Hills high school in El Cajon, California.
Again, of course, this has come to a great deal of attention to us here at CNN, even though none of the injuries are said to be life- threatening. At this point, we have focused a great deal of attention here because Granite Hills high school is within a few miles, four to six miles, of Santana high school, where the shooting in Santee, California occurred earlier in the month, where two young people were killed, and another teenage student is the suspect in that case is now in custody.
We understand that a press conference will be held within this hour. In about 40 minutes, we're expecting another statement from police as they try to sort out additional details, as families continue to be re-united with their young people from the school and from the surrounding area.
We have been reporting that one teacher was injured, as well as four of the teenagers -- students -- in this case from the school, and two weapons, we are now told, have been recovered. Earlier, the police said that there was a handgun involved, as well as what the police official described as a long gun of some type.
We are told that a number of those injured suffered pellet-type injuries, buck-shot type injuries, and we've seen a long-barreled weapon on the ground near the school. We're not sure how all those things are connected, but this is what we have seen in the course of watching the coverage throughout this afternoon.
There have been a number of confusing reports, some coming earlier in the situation, because there was concern that there might be another suspect, but now authorities are saying they do have one individual they do believe to be in custody, the one individual involved in this case, and he is being treated at hospital as well.
CNN's live coverage and all the breaking news of the day continues after this.
CHEN: I'm Joie Chen at CNN center in Atlanta. We're trying to keep you up to date on a number of different developing stories, and a lot of confusing developments as well, so we want to bring you up to date on the information as we know it right now.
There was a school shooting today in El Cajon, California at Granite Hills high school. This is a community that is adjacent to Santee, California, where the school shooting occurred earlier in the month at Santana high school.
Now, in today's shooting, there are a number of injuries reported. A local hospital spokeswoman who we heard on CNN just a few minutes ago, said there were a total of 10 injuries being treated at various hospitals in the San Diego area.
One of the people being treated is thought to be the suspect in this case who faced a shoot-out with the local police officer assigned to Granite Hills high school.
We want to join on the telephone line right now Mickey Stonier who is with the Red Cross at Granite high school who's going to talk to us a little bit more, I understand, about the situation with re- uniting the families. What can you tell us about bringing those families back together, Mickey?
MICKEY STONIER, VOLUNTEER CHAPLAIN: Well, I was also at the Santana high incident, and the community definitely is traumatized, but you know, the police department, the sheriff's department have really -- are well-organized in this incident, and their first concern was to unite the students with their parents.
And also, I've been working with the witnesses, those closest to the shooting. And of course, they are most emotional, and yet, they are well-cared for right now. We have crisis chaplains with all the families, letting them talk. Of course, they are being interviewed by the police department as witnesses, but you know what -- just also give word -- the entire community is traumatized -- and also the students at Santana high school, this is kind of pulling a scab off a fresh wound for them as well, and so there's -- the school district is doing a good job providing counseling at both schools.
Although this is a completely different incident, more than anything I can say it's really responding -- the community is responding very well.
CHEN: At a very uncertain time.
STONIER: A lot of emotion, a lot of hurt...
CHEN: We're sure it is, sir. I am afraid we're going to have to leave it there. Mickey Stonier with the Red Cross, helping out with the situation at Granite Hills high school where the latest school shooting occurred today.
We want to just also remind our viewers that we are following a situation in Los Angeles, where there was a scaffolding collapse outside the Shrine Auditorium today. Five people injured there, one of those people injured critically. CNN's continuing to follow up on all the stories, bring you the latest as we get it here.
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