Los Angeles police say schools near Woodland Hills shooting scene will be safe when classes resume
As Los Angeles police ended their search Wednesday night for a gunman who shot a school officer in Woodland Hills, authorities tried to reassure parents, students and residents that the area would be safe when classes resumed in the morning.
"The students can come here and feel safe," Los Angeles school police Chief Steven Zipperman told reporters at a news conference at a command center at Hale Middle School. "We will have a very strong presence here and in and around campus."
Some students and parents who were reunited after nine area schools were locked down earlier in the day told The Times that they were not planning to go to school Thursday morning.
The officer was shot in the chest, but he was saved by protective body armor, authorities said. Zipperman said the officer had been released from a hospital and was resting at home with his family.
During the day, more than 350 officers from four agencies were combing a seven-square-mile area that had been shut down. The area was opened up at 9:15 p.m.
That massive search disrupted daily routines for thousands of people as cars were searched, roads were blocked and schools were sealed.
Police said they had no regrets that people were inconvenienced.
"Our police officer was inconvenienced because he was shot," LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said. "I stand by these decisions."
He said the gunman, whom the officer stopped after noticing suspicious activity, made a "huge, huge statement" by opening fire in the middle of the day.
"When a police officer's life is threatened," Albanese said, "it threatens our very existence."
Anyone with information is asked to call (877) LAPD 24-7.
-- Bob Pool at Hale Middle School