Thousands trapped inside police shooting perimeter in Woodland Hills
Ken Taylor, who owns a photo studio on Ostronic Drive, said he and his employees tried to leave the area after they heard about the shooting at El Camino Real High School but were stopped by police searching for the gunman who shot a Los Angeles Unified School District police officer.
"The police stop every car," Taylor said. "When cars stop, they're opening their trunks. They just want to make sure the suspect doesn't get out."
Taylor said the police told him that if he left the perimeter, he wouldn't be let back in. So he and his employees decided to return to the shop.
"We locked our doors," he said.
Jennifer Rubenstein of Woodland Hills said she has a freshman and a junior at El Camino and a sixth-grader at Hale Middle School.
She said she was surprised about the shooting in what is usually a quiet neighborhood.
"This is why you live here," she said.
Christine Spence said she kept calling and texting her son at Hale and finally got through to him. He told her that students were locked in fourth-period class and that food was being sent into classrooms.
"I've never wanted to do home schooling, but now with what's going on I might do it," Spence said. "I may keep my son home from school tomorrow."
The LAUSD said two schools, Calabash and Pomelo, will dismiss students at the normal time. Seven other schools will remain on lockdown for a while.
Many anxious parents were gathered in the Hale parking lot, just north of a perimeter cordoned off by police.
Shelly Devito was there waiting to be let inside so she could pick up her two children from El Camino Real.
"Nobody's telling me anything; I can't get through," she said. "My kids are texting me and calling me."
She said students were stuck inside their classrooms and had not been let out to eat lunch or go to the bathroom.
"They're stuck inside and they're not allowed to move," she said. "They're hungry, they have to go to the bathroom," she said. "My daughter told me her teacher said to make a circle around a girl who had to pee into a trash can."
Devito said she heard about the shooting while at work at a nearby preschool. "Everybody was panicked. I'm panicked," she said. "You think your kids are safe, and they're not. It's that feeling.... I don't know what to do with myself now."
-- Bob Pool, Ching-Ching Ni and Kate Linthicum
Photo: The scene at Burbank Boulevard and Manton Avenue, with El Camino Real High School in the background. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times
Map: Shows location of police perimeter. Credit: Los Angeles Times