Gunshot fired at Berkeley High School, no injuries

The bullet hole that was made in the wall of a portable classroom at BHS this morning.

A gun was fired on campus at Berkeley High School this morning at around 8:45 a.m. A bullet went through the wall of a portable classroom from where the round was fired.

Two suspects, at least one of whom was a BHS student, were detained by the Berkeley Police Department and the school’s security staff at around 10:18 a.m., following a pursuit. The weapon has not been found, according to BPD spokesperson Sgt Mary Kusmiss.

At 8:45 a.m., a BUSD-employed landscape gardener heard a gun shot and reported it to his supervisor who in turn informed the school. The gun was fired from the men’s bathroom in a portable classroom on the north-east side of campus, adjacent to Milvia.

The BPD received at call at 8:59 a.m. informing them that BHS security officers were following a possible “responsible” east bound on Durant Avenue. He was brandishing an unknown weapon. Two students and the landscape gardener confirmed witnessing a firearm.

The school was put on lockdown, according to a student report at 9:34 a.m.

A sergeant and several police officers conducted an area check. The sergeant was given a detailed description of one of the suspects at 9:23 a.m. At around 10:18 a.m. two young men were detained between the G and H buildings on the BHS campus.

The weapon is still outstanding, according to Sgt Kusmiss.

“We are very concerned that the weapon is not with them,” said Sgt Kusmiss. She added that the possibility that the round that went off could have struck someone outside the building is also very concerning.

As we write, the BPD ID technical team is on the scene inspecting the portable building and the two young men have been taken to the Berkeley Police Station for juvenile booking.

BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi is expected to make an announcement at the school imminently. We will provide updates on the story as we receive them.

Update 11:26 a.m.: Sgt Kusmiss from the Berkeley police reports that a gun was found in 2200 block of Haste wrapped in a jacket.

Update 11:53 a.m.: BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan reports that Principal Scuderi made an announcement over the school intercom to the students and staff about the gun incident. He will be sending an email to the school community but, like much of the rest of Berkeley, BHS has a power outage and the email might therefore be delayed.

Update 13:00: The two students involved in this incident are aged 15 and 16 and both attend Berkeley High School, according to Sgt. Kusmiss. They will be charged, probably with possession of a firearm on school property, which is a felony, and taken to Juvenile Hall.

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  • David L.

    BUSD must adopt TSA screening standards for Berkeley High now!!! It’s a small price to pay to prevent a potential tragedy at our public high school! Wait are we waiting for? A dead teacher or student?

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the quick response. Texts just starting to come in from kids at school. It was quite a relief to get the news story from you so clearly and succinctly.

  • A Blake Street Resident

    We moved to Berkeley a few months ago, in part because of the schools (we have two small children). I’m wondering if all these gun incidents are part of a recent flare-up or just par for the course. Either way, it’s disturbing.

  • laura menard

    G and H building entrances are not properly secured during the school day. At any given time outsiders are able to gain access. Note that one of the two suspects was not an enrolled student.

    Back in 2000/01 school safety parent advocates drafted a plan for campus egress and exits. Many of the recommendations were eventually implemented, but control of the entrances off MLK and the driveway off Milvia behind the gym continue to be serious problem areas.

  • http://www.tktaylor.com Tracey Taylor

    Laura Menard: It has not yet been confirmed whether one of the two detained students is enrolled at BHS or not.

  • Meghan Starkey

    Thanks for the quick update it was our only source of info besides the text messages from the kids!

  • laura menard

    Tracy,

    help me out here, you wrote:

    Two suspects, at least one of whom was a BHS student, were detained by the Berkeley Police Deparment and the school’s security staff at around 10:18 a.m., following a pursuit. The weapon has not been found, according to BPD spokesperson Sgt Mary Kusmiss.

  • http://www.berkeleyside.com Lance Knobel

    Laura: one of the suspects was confirmed by the police as a BHS student. The identity of the other was unconfirmed at time of writing. Hence, “at least one of whom was a BHS student”. It’s possible when we get further information that both are BHS students.

  • laura menard

    Lance,

    that was my understanding from the reporting which was reflected in my comment. Not sure what Tracey was correcting.

  • Bruce Love

    Mercury News is saying three arrests now but two incidents. (Those two plus a third found carrying on an anonymous tip.)

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17673360

  • Bruce Love

    @Laura: the confusion is because you wrote “Note that one of the two suspects was not an enrolled student.” We don’t know yet if that is true.

  • http://www.tktaylor.com Tracey Taylor

    Laura and Bruce: It has just been confirmed to me by Sgt. Kusmiss of the BPD that both students in this incident are enrolled at Berkeley High School (see update on story).

  • laura menard

    Got it.

    And even if in this case all three teens are BHS students, my long standing knowledge of incident patterns and breaches of campus safety by non students continue to be major threat.

    Doug Oakley’s reporting points out to another significant ongoing FAILURE of response protocols.

    “Kusmiss said a Berkeley High School maintenance officer who heard the shot and saw the students run away first called his supervisor instead of calling police. The supervisor also did not call police but instead called someone at Berkeley High School, who then called police, Kusmiss said.”

  • Penny

    I walk by BHS everyday of the week and the security is just standing around talking why are they not making an error to no the students that walk into B-High! are our children really safe there. What kind of program do they have if a child feels threaten by someone and brings a weapon to school. Something has to be done that can uplift, teach and encourage our children that violence is not the answer!

  • Berkeley Born

    Even during the late 80′s crack era, when violence and crime were rampant at BHS, there were a lot of fights but firearms were not discharged. I’m sure guns were brought to school but they were not used, at least on campus. The problem has only gotten worse and will continue to do so…there is a large segment of the population who has no value for human life and unable to see beyond its own frustrations…

  • Voxhumana

    Needless to say, someone could have been seriously injured, if not killed, by this criminal act. Something is obviously not working at BHS if these incidents are decreasing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems the incidents so far this school year, 2010-2011, have increased over last year? Security patrols, inside and outside at campus, might help. Or, tighter perimeter restrictions forcing people to enter through prescribed secure entrances, where personnel can take whatever precautions (metal detection wands, inspection of backpacks,) to make the students and staff safe. If not, or in spite of, this doesn’t look like it’s going to end well. Those in authority need to do something more.

  • Voxhumana

    I meant incidents INcreasing. Sorry.

  • Mark Humbert

    Thanks Frances, Tracey and Lance for your timely reporting of this incident!

  • Chris

    As a parent of a freshman at BHS, the increase in gun incidents is really scary. Does anyone know whether gang activity (XIII/XIV or WSB local gangs) is prompting this? Is it related to tensions between small group/gang or to bullying?

  • Liz

    I go to Berkeley high and I can tell you gang activity is definitely not prompting this. It’s just random kids being stupid.

  • Juliette

    “It’s just random kids being stupid.”

    That is a very cavalier way of putting it. It’s not “just” anything. A gun at school is a big deal. A gun going off at school is a very big deal.

  • Chris

    Thanks, Liz. Kids being stupid is one thing and still scary, but gang activity is more scary in some ways to me because it is more organized and can escalate more quickly. Good luck and be safe. We parents will be working with the school to do whatever is needed to make the school safer.

  • Anna

    Schools are supposed to be sanctuaries. BHS is not. The district must do everything in its power to make sure that our children are safe. This is not acceptable.

  • bhs student

    tsa security and backpack searching upon entrance is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion. it’s freakin hard enough to get to class as it is…how could they possibly search 3500 kids?? and where would the money come from? if you’re looking for a sanctuary, send your kid to head royce.

  • BHS studentt

    Okay, i go to berkeley high too. I like how bhs is. Nothing will change if you try to make it safer. And i agree with Liz, its just stupid kids. I think one of the guys who got arrested was my friend. Im not naming. But i dont care, bhs is fun.

  • Christa

    Thanks for keeping it real, BHS students. Random crazy stuff happens, and we’re lucky that no one was hurt. Yes, searching 3500 high school students daily is a ridiculous idea- spoken from someone who clearly doesn’t have a clue what that would entail. I don’t think that schools are supposed to be sanctuaries, actually. BHS is an urban school and has the problems as the wider community. I’ve been impressed with the response time and communication from the new principal.

  • http://www.dalefamilyfarm.com Andy Dale

    My daughter will be entering BHS next year and this scares me! Like many of the other people commenting I want to see something done about this. I strongly support the work being done by organizations like SEEDS Community Resolution Center (http://www.seedscrc.org/restorative-justice.php) or Community Works (http://www.communityworkswest.org/index.php/resolve-to-stop-the-violence-project). These programs are making a POSITIVE difference… lets raise awareness of these programs and call for BHS to engage in restorative change in response to these incidents.

  • Anna

    @bhs student. I disagree with you. All students have a right to feel safe at school and what is so “freakin hard” about getting to school? Other schools, some larger than BHS have effective security methods. As taxpayers we have a right to safe public schools and should not have to pay extra to send our kids to private schools.

  • NewCasStudent012

    I’m a student at BHS…
    For all these parents [...]
    IF YOU DON’T THINK BHS IS SAFE SEND YOUR CHILD SOMEHWHERE ELSE!

    This comment has been moderated and edited for falling foul of Berkeleyside’s Comments policy.

  • Sharkey

    If these comments from supposed BHS students are any indication, our educators are failing miserably.

    BHS should be split into two schools — One for students who have a desire to learn and get ahead, and another for kids who just want to be baby sat and think it’s cool to have guns on campus.

  • Bhsjunior

    Look i got Berkeley high and as previous students have said this was just kids being stupid. In my years at bhs I’ve never felt unsafe. Also doing security checks would waste lots of money and there are to many entrances to account for. Plus doing these checks would make us students get up earlier and would cost us our off campus lunch. So plz stop over reacting you have no idea what’s going on since you haven’t been a kid in who knows long!

  • Anna

    @BHS Junior. I disagree, Would rather waste money than waste a life. Nothing wrong with getting up earlier. Going off campus for lunch should be earned privilege not a right. Being a kid does not make one automatically more knowledgeable about “what is going on”. Looking from the outside in gives one a clearer picture.

    Entrances can be locked and kids make a lot of deadly mistakes because of stupidity and hopefully after 4 years of HS they won’t be so stupid.

  • waffle

    BHS student here. All of you retarded ass parent live in fucking LALALand. Do you really think its uncommon for guns to be brought to public school? I can guarantee to you that on any given day there are at least 10 students with guns. And did you ever stop to think about WHY they have guns? It’s because they live in the shittiest parts of Oakland and Richmond, and they feel the NEED to have a gun to be SAFE. Not everyone has the LUXURY of living in practically crime free neighborhoods. It’s easy to sit on your moral high horse (more like high house, given the elevation difference related to the difference in income), and say that guns at school are unacceptable and everyone with a weapon at school should be kicked out. But if you live in a neighborhood where you see dead bodies lying on the street, EVER, you just might feel the need to protect yourself, especially if you know no one else can provide protection for you. (NEWSFLASH: cops in shitty neighborhoods don’t adequate protect its residents). And there are also students who have guns because they sell drugs. Your thinking: “DRUG DEELERS WITH GUNS AT MY CHILDS SCHOOL!!!! GRRRRR!!! EVIL CHILDREN!!!! WE NEED MORE PRISONS!!!!”. But have you ever asked yourself WHY students sell drugs, do you think its some kind of fucking past time? People sell drugs because they NEED money, not every students parents are employed or live on a salary that affords them fresh produce and gourmet meals. SOME MOTHERFUCKERS ARE POOR AS SHIT! don’t fucking forget that. How is a student supposed to make money, other then sell drugs at that age. Get a job? One of the ONLY ways for youth that go to BHS to get a job is through youthworks, and to be eligible for that you have to reside in Berkeley and be over 16 years old. So what do kids do to get money to LIVE, that are poor and live in dangerous neighborhood outside of Berkeley, they sell drugs, and if you sell drugs and live in a fucked up place, a gun is pretty much required, unless you want to get shot or robbed. So if reality disturbs you, fine, take your kid to private school, and let them think they can avoid social problems by isolating themselves in homogeneous communities, its what your kind, the wealthy and apathetic, have been doing for centuries.

  • waffle

    (repost from other article but deal with it) BHS student here. All of you retarded ass parent live in fucking LALALand. Do you really think its uncommon for guns to be brought to public school? I can guarantee to you that on any given day there are at least 10 students with guns. And did you ever stop to think about WHY they have guns? It’s because they live in the shittiest parts of Oakland and Richmond, and they feel the NEED to have a gun to be SAFE. Not everyone has the LUXURY of living in practically crime free neighborhoods. It’s easy to sit on your moral high horse (more like high house, given the elevation difference related to the difference in income), and say that guns at school are unacceptable and everyone with a weapon at school should be kicked out. But if you live in a neighborhood where you see dead bodies lying on the street, EVER, you just might feel the need to protect yourself, especially if you know no one else can provide protection for you. (NEWSFLASH: cops in shitty neighborhoods don’t adequate protect its residents).

    And there are also students who have guns because they sell drugs. Your thinking: “DRUG DEELERS WITH GUNS AT MY CHILDS SCHOOL!!!! GRRRRR!!! EVIL CHILDREN!!!! WE NEED MORE PRISONS!!!!”. But have you ever asked yourself WHY students sell drugs, do you think its some kind of fucking past time? People sell drugs because they NEED money, not every students parents are employed or live on a salary that affords them fresh produce and gourmet meals. SOME MOTHERFUCKERS ARE POOR AS SHIT! don’t fucking forget that. How is a student supposed to make money, other then sell drugs at that age. Get a job? One of the ONLY ways for youth that go to BHS to get a job is through youthworks, and to be eligible for that you have to reside in Berkeley and be over 16 years old. So what do kids do to get money to LIVE, that are poor and live in dangerous neighborhood outside of Berkeley, they sell drugs, and if you sell drugs and live in a fucked up place, a gun is pretty much required, unless you want to get shot or robbed. So if reality disturbs you, fine, take your kid to private school, and let them think they can avoid social problems by isolating themselves in homogeneous communities, its what your kind, the wealthy and apathetic, have been doing for centuries.

  • waffle

    (sorry about the last repost, thought i was on a different page)(this one is minus the profanity) BHS student here. All of you retarded ass parent live in LALALand. Do you really think its uncommon for guns to be brought to public school? I can guarantee to you that on any given day there are at least 10 students with guns. And did you ever stop to think about WHY they have guns? It’s because they live in the shittiest parts of Oakland and Richmond, and they feel the NEED to have a gun to be SAFE. Not everyone has the LUXURY of living in practically crime free neighborhoods. It’s easy to sit on your moral high horse (more like high house, given the elevation difference related to the difference in income), and say that guns at school are unacceptable and everyone with a weapon at school should be kicked out. But if you live in a neighborhood where you see dead bodies lying on the street, EVER, you just might feel the need to protect yourself, especially if you know no one else can provide protection for you. (NEWSFLASH: cops in bad neighborhoods don’t adequate protect its residents). And there are also students who have guns because they sell drugs. Your thinking: “DRUG DEELERS WITH GUNS AT MY CHILDS SCHOOL!!!! GRRRRR!!! EVIL CHILDREN!!!! WE NEED MORE PRISONS!!!!”. But have you ever asked yourself WHY students sell drugs, do you think its some kind of past time? People sell drugs because they NEED money, not every students parents are employed or live on a salary that affords them fresh produce and gourmet meals. SOME PEOPLE ARE REALLY POOR! don’t forget that. How is a student supposed to make money, other then sell drugs at that age. Get a job? One of the ONLY ways for youth that go to BHS to get a job is through youthworks, and to be eligible for that you have to reside in Berkeley and be over 16 years old. So what do kids do to get money to LIVE, that are poor and live in dangerous neighborhood outside of Berkeley, they sell drugs, and if you sell drugs and live in a fucked up place, a gun is pretty much required, unless you want to get shot or robbed. So if reality disturbs you, fine, take your kid to private school, and let them think they can avoid social problems by isolating themselves in homogeneous communities, its what your kind, the wealthy and apathetic, have been doing for centuries.

  • http://www.murrayflynn.ie/school-accident-ireland/ school accidents

    Every parent dreads the call which says that their child has been hurt in an accident at school – even though when we were at school, we were having accidents all the time. It is a fact of life that children run around and sometimes get hurt

  • NotStuckOnStupid

    Agree with Anna-would rather “waste money” for security than have a dead student…all you BHS students who are posting…did you ever see your friend get his./her head blown off -by someone “just stuck on stupid” ?? NOT a pretty site….you would change your mind very quickly…even quicker if you got shot by someone “acting stupid”.  Stupid is jumping off a rooftop, not shooting a gun..get real.