Two men approached a group of students on the Berkeley High School campus Friday morning, flashed a gun and then left, authorities report.
The men were “looking for a particular student,” according to an email BHS Principal Juan Raygoza sent to the school community just before 9:20 p.m. Friday, about 13 hours after the men came to campus. The email was titled, “Communication on Serious Incident Today.”
According to police, the men — whose identities are unknown — “confronted three BHS students on campus and brandished/flashed a firearm at them” at about 8:30 a.m. The men then walked off campus toward Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Bancroft Way and did not return, authorities said. BPD did not say what prompted the men to seek out the student.
After the interaction, according to the principal’s email — which appears below — a student reported the interaction to a campus security guard who immediately alerted Raygoza.
“We quickly took steps to ensure the safety of the student in question as well as our entire campus community,” Raygoza said in the email. “I updated our safety officers and administrators right away, and we secured our campus gates. With the exception of one pedestrian gate, all other school gates were closed.”
BHS staff monitored the open gate closely, the principal wrote, and police responded to the area as well.
“BPD officers arrived immediately and began patrolling the community and searching for this individual,” the principal wrote. “Officers also monitored our perimeter throughout the school day. All BHS administrators and safety officers increased active supervision of the campus.”
As of Monday, no one had been arrested in connection with the incident and the men had not been identified, police said. BPD did not immediately have access to data regarding any recent reports of guns on campus, but Berkeleyside will update this story if it becomes available.
Principal Raygoza’s email appears below as originally written. See the message in Spanish on the BHS Etree website.
Dear BHS Students and Families,
Please do not reply to this message. If you have questions, please contact BHS Principal Juan Raygoza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m writing to provide you with information about a serious incident that occured on campus this morning. Prior to the start of 1st period, a student reported to a safety officer that two non-student adults came onto campus looking for a particular student. They approached a group of students and then left campus prior to the start of 1st period. They did not return. We are working with the Berkeley Police Department (BPD) to investigate a report that during their brief interaction with our students, one of the adults flashed a gun.
The Safety Officer who received the initial report immediately came to my office, and I contacted our BPD School Resource Officer Geoff Mitchell. We quickly took steps to ensure the safety of the student in question as well as our entire campus community. I updated our safety officers and administrators right away, and we secured our campus gates. With the exception of one pedestrian gate, all other school gates were closed. The one open pedestrian gate was staffed by an administrator and safety staff. Other BPD officers arrived immediately and began patrolling the community and searching for this individual. Officers also monitored our perimeter throughout the school day. All BHS administrators and safety officers increased active supervision of the campus.
Throughout the day, we actively worked to ensure the safety of all of our students and staff. We did not believe that there was a threat to our students and staff, given that the individuals left campus. Nevertheless, we secured our perimeter for the remainder of the school day with the help of our safety officers, administrators, and BPD. This issue has become a police matter at this point.
The safety of our students and staff is a top priority at BHS. I am saddened by this disruption to learning and deeply concerned about non-students entering our campus in any threatening manner. I am grateful to our staff and to BPD for their deep commitment to campus safety, and to our students who remained engaged in learning throughout the day.
Featured photo: Nancy Rubin