By AMANDA MARTINEZ and STEFANIA ROUSSELLE
Summer school students at the International Studies Academy (ISA) said Tuesday morning that at least one gunmen involved in Monday’s shooting incident was a student at the school who they witnessed exiting the building before the shooting started.
“I thought I saw him leave out the building,” said a student, who like others interviewed on Tuesday morning feared retaliation. “People know him.”
All of the students interviewed said the incident, which left three juveniles wounded, was gang related. Police have confirmed that one of the victims, a 17- year- old female, was a summer school student. The injuries were not life threatening.
A 17-year-old junior who has attended the school for three years said she was only two feet away when the shots were fired. It was an argument that “got ugly between two different sets, ” she said. A set is a slang term for street gang.
Police said that a verbal argument between two young males escalated when one of them pulled out a gun and began shooting outside of the school near 18th Street and De Haro.
Police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka confirmed that the Gang Task Force Unit is currently taking part in the investigation, but added that they have no evidence that the shooting was gang related.
When asked about the identity of the shooter the 17-year-old junior and others responded, “ He is a student that goes to ISA.” She and other students said they know the name of the gunmen, but declined to give it to Mission Loc@l.
Both representatives of the Police Department and San Francisco Unified School District said they have no evidence to believe the gunman was a student or affiliated with gangs.
The one juvenile suspect in custody is not a student of the summer school, police said.
The suspect was arrested after he fled the scene in a get away car. It is still uncertain if there were multiple shooters but two guns were recovered from the car.
The student who saw the gunman leave the building, went back and forth as to whether the suspect went to school there. “He did go here,” she said at one point. Then added: “I don’t understand, if he didn’t go to school here, most times when people come here to wait for people who don’t go to school here, they’ll wait down by the stairs.” They would not, she said, be coming from inside the building.
Another 17-year-old male said he heard six shots. “I think one of them,” was a student he said. When asked if he was afraid, he said, “I’m used to getting shot at so whatever.”
Students who arrived Tuesday for the second day of summer school were still in shock over the shooting. They said they heard between five and six gunshots as they left the building Monday after the first day of summer school Some 400 students from across the city are attending summer school there.
Students say it is not uncommon these days for students to carry guns. “Students carry them if they need to,” said one student.
A 14 year- old student at the school was arrested for bringing a gun to campus in October.
Many students said the concern over safety at summer school is nothing new.
“ I never feel safe at summer. They put a whole bunch of people in one school and tell you to get along,” said a 15 year old who is attending ISA because his home school is not offering summer classes.
During the summers, students from up to 20 different high schools are consolidated into seven summer school sites.
Parent Esperanza Castillo who was in the street when the shooting took place said she is concerned that there are not more choices for students.
“They are coming from other schools and they (school officials) don’t know how students are going to deal with each other,” she said in Spanish.
For most students summer school is not an option. “ Summer school is offered only to students who are at risk of not graduating and need to repeat core academic classed, failed classes or the high school exit exam.
For many the five-week intensive course leaves no flexibility to transfer to another school and restart the curriculum. Castillo walked her 15- year -old son to the second day of school at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday despite the unsettling events she witnessed the day before, “He has to come to school what can he do,” she said.
Gentle Blythe the Director of Public Outreach for San Francisco Unified School District said security at the school will be increased from three to four security guards for the remainder of the summer school session ends July 17.