By Ivan Cazares
[updated on November 26 at 7:30 AM]
The Monterey Park Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to a rumor of an active shooter on campus tuesday night. East Los Angeles College was placed on lockdown while an investigation took place.
Deputies patrolled the school in force while a helicopter circled around overhead. The helicopter remained on standby at a higher altitude while deputies continued their search.
Some witnesses said they heard what sounded like a gunshot, however it was not confirmed and the search ended with no arrests.
“We received a call from Highway Patrol and an unidentified person. The 911 call was traced back to the campus,” Lieutenant Jamie Baltazar of the Sheriff’s Department said.
“The information they received was vague,” President Marvin Martinez said.
The caller reported seeing two hispanic male suspects hanging out by the South Gym. He or she said one had a gun and said one was wearing a blue shirt and black shorts.
“We are taking precautions. I didn’t send out an alert to avoid spreading panic,” Martinez said. Deputies blocked the school’s exits and a large police force gathered in front of the South Gym on Cesar Chavez.
A large number of students were unaware of the potential danger and continued to walk around campus.
“We tried to go back on campus, but they (deputies) weren’t letting anyone in. They stopped us to see who we were,” Jose Velazco said. Velazco was by the south gym with a group of friends.
They didn’t hear a gunshot and were surprised by the police presence on campus.
Classes in the C2 complex were told to remain inside and lock the doors until the search was over while other students were turned away and told that classes were canceled.
In response to the incident, Professors such as Political Science Professor Jerry Hernandez suggested in an email, changing the college’s policy. This change would mean that an immediate lockdown be issued if campus personnel observe weapons drawn on campus during events like this.
Hernandez also suggested Tuesday night’s incident should be added for discussion during the next Academic Senate meeting on December 8.