The shooting of two former Sacramento Charter High School students Tuesday night touched off fears of violence at the school on Wednesday, prompting police and community volunteers to come to the school to defuse tensions and some parents to pull their children out early.
A false report of a shooting at the school led police to temporarily put it on lockdown.
Jake Mossawir, CEO of St. Hope Public Schools, which runs Sacramento High, said that while parents had valid concerns, school administrators had taken extra precautions to keep students safe.
“There were some kids that were having some (verbal) altercations, emotions were running high,” he said. “There were no fights, though.”
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Wednesday’s events came after the shooting of two 15-year-old teens who previously attended the school. Police said they found the teens at the 5800 block of 64th Street on Tuesday night at around 7:50 p.m. after receiving reports of two people who had been shot.
Tamir Williams, one of the two teens, was found unconscious, while the other 15-year-old was also wounded but able to talk, police said. Both were taken to a local hospital, where Williams eventually died. The second teen was left with serious injuries but was still alive as of Thursday.
Detectives believe the pair were at 64th Street to commit a home invasion, said Linda Matthew, a Sacramento Police Department spokeswoman. That information wasn’t released until Wednesday evening, with Matthew saying the department had received conflicting reports and wanted to wait before releasing additional information.
Police did not say whether the suspected shooter was the target of the alleged home-invasion robbery. The department also denied claims that the shooting was gang-related.
An initial lack of information regarding the shooting caused rumors about what had happened to the teens to explode on social media by Wednesday morning, Berry Accius said.
“There were rumors that day that someone was going to come up at Sacramento High, (that they were) going to come up and do something,” he said. “There was so much speculation on what had happened to (Williams).”
Accius said rumors were fueled by long-standing disputes between gangs in south Sacramento and Oak Park, where Sacramento High is located. Some speculated that the shooting of the former Sacramento High students was in retaliation for a separate shooting at a Meadowview party that killed 20-year-old Gregorie Green.
Matthew on Thursday said the department’s investigators don’t believe the shootings are connected.
Accius was among dozens of community members who came to the campus to support students who needed someone to talk to. Their campus police officer was in contact with the Sacramento Police Department, which also sent some of their officers to the campus, said Shannon Wheatley, the school’s principal.
“We just really wanted to make sure that anything we were hearing was focused on safety,” Wheatley said.
Mossawir said that one student was chased by other students after making insensitive comments about Williams’ death, but no one at the school was involved in a physical fight.
The Police Department went to the campus around 11 a.m. after seeing social media posts that a student at the school was involved with Tuesday’s homicide, Matthew said. While they were there, officers received word at around 11:55 a.m. that someone had called police to say they believed shots had been fired on campus. Officers placed the school on lockdown but found no victims or signs of a shooting.
Williams and the other 15-year-old student, his friend, were not current students, but both had previously attended the school, Mossawir said. Williams was popular at the school and known for his charismatic personality.
“His smile is undeniable,” Mossawir said. “I think he could disarm people with his big smile.”
Wheatley said Thursday morning was calmer.
“Yesterday was actually a day for unity,” he said. “We woke up today and had school. It’s been a safe day on campus.”