A week after a violent confrontation on the Sacramento City College campus left one student fatally shot and another man with a knife wound, administrators held a town hall forum for students, faculty and staff to air concerns and ask questions.
About 50 students and staff members attended the 4 p.m. forum Thursday at the campus Student Center. It was led by Kathryn Jeffery, president of the college, and Brian King, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District.
Some students complained they didn’t receive text alerts until 45 minutes after student Roman Gonzalez, 25, was shot dead and the still-unidentified gunman fled on foot through the campus at 3:56 p.m.
A text message was sent out at 4:41 p.m. that said, “Students and Staff: SCC main campus currently locked down due to gunshots fired. Shelter in place until further notice.”
Cheryl Sears, chief of police for the Los Rios Community College District, said officials tried to send the notice out much sooner but ran into technical “glitches” that were under review.
“As soon as we were able to get the word out, it got out,” Sears said.
Sears said police believed the college community was safe soon after the shooting because witnesses had reported seeing the gunman fleeing the campus.
Accompanied by his cousin, student Rico Ridgeway, 24, Gonzalez was leaving campus on Sept. 3 when the pair got in a confrontation with two other men in the parking lot.
Ridgeway allegedly stabbed former student Charlie Hola, 19. Hola’s companion – described by police only as a Pacific Islander wearing a white shirt and tan cargo shorts – allegedly fired a gun, killing Gonzalez and grazing Ridgeway with a bullet.
“One pulled a knife. One pulled a gun” and fired five shots, Sears said.
Ridgeway and Gonzalez both have prior convictions that include weapons offenses.
Ridgeway made a desperate attempt to perform CPR on Gonzalez that other students recorded on cellphone videos. Police arrested Ridgeway the next day for assault with a deadly weapon. Jail records indicate he was released Thursday.
Hola was released from the hospital and booked into the Sacramento County jail on Saturday on charges that include robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is ineligible for bail.
The shooter remains at large, though police say they have leads, including campus security video.
Samm Hickey, 29, a first-semester student at Sac City, said she was in the library Sept. 3 when students were told to move to the top floor and stay there.
At one point, an announcement over the building’s loudspeakers mistakenly said two gunmen were still not in custody, Hickey told college officials at the meeting.
About two hours later, police cleared the building and ushered students out into the night. They were told to walk about a mile around the perimeter of the campus to reach their cars in the parking garage, she said.
Hickey said police might have known that there had been only one gunman and that he had fled the campus, but students didn’t know at that point.
“We were just kind of all set free,” she said.
King, the district chancellor, promised that emergency procedures after the shooting would be reviewed and changes implemented where needed.
“We’re going to do a very careful review of what happened last Thursday,” he said. “We want to learn from this incident.”