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Woodland Hills search area one of largest in recent LAPD history


View El Camino Real High School shooting

The seven square miles that police are scouring in Woodland Hills is one of the largest LAPD search areas in recent memory, police officials said.

More than 350 officers from four agencies are combing the swath of the west San Fernando Valley, searching for a man who shot a Los Angeles Unified School District police officer after he was confronted in the midst of suspicious activity.

That massive search area has caused headaches for thousands. At one point, nine schools with a combined enrollment of 9,000 students were under lockdown orders. By late afternoon -– long after school usually lets out -– some students remained stuck in their classrooms as anxious parents waited around the perimeter.

LAUSD officials said the students were all safe and secure. There were some reports, though, of students going without food or being forced to urinate into trash cans.

Meanwhile, residents and workers inside the perimeter were also disrupted by the day's events. Helicopters hovered ahead. Police were stopping vehicles to search trunks, as well as questioning some pedestrians. In some areas, police were knocking on doors looking for the gunman, described as a 40-year-old white man with long brown hair, clad in a bomber jacket and blue jeans.

Josh Morgan, 31, whose office is on Ventura Boulevard, said he and his colleagues tried to walk to lunch, but were turned back at the perimeter.

"We were able to leave the office, but made it about half a block down the street," Morgan said. Officers told them they wouldn't be able to come back. Instead, Morgan and his colleagues returned to work and ate potato chips and other snacks.

"People have their browsers open with live feeds of several local stations, and the boss has the TV on with news, but it's basically just been business as usual," said Morgan, who works at Click N Kids, which produces educational Web-based games. "We know something is going on outside. We can hear sirens and helicopters every once in a while."

At El Camino Real High School, the campus adjacent to the shooting site, 10th-grader Madison Handelman said police officers carrying large guns searched the gymnasium with dogs.

Katie Testo, an 18-year-old senior, said that SWAT teams were combing the hallways and that students were watching the news and waiting for word on when they would be released.

"We're really anxious and really scared because we don't know what's going on," Testo said.

Davood Khoshnood, who works in data information services at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, said his daughter Marjohn, 17, is a student at El Camino Real and had been texting him all day. He said she has been under lockdown, held without anything to eat for the last several hours.

"She's OK. She's taking it pretty good," said Khoshnood. "She's more concerned about the officer."

Khoshnood said parents were being told that the lockdown would end at 5 pm. He said he was extremely worried when he first heard about the attack.

"It's hard. Especially after the shooting in Arizona," Khoshnood said. "It's just getting too much."

The officer, identified as Jeffrey Stenroos, an eight-year veteran of the LAUSD police force, was listed in fair condition at Northridge Hospital.

Dr. Stephen Jones said that Stenroos was shot above the heart but that his bulletproof vest largely deflected the force of the gunshot.

He said that Stenroos' mood was upbeat and that doctors were making sure the bullet didn't bruise his heart or lungs.

"If it was me, and I had been shot at that range, I would feel like the luckiest man alive," Jones said.

RELATED:

Lockdown orders lifted at several Woodland Hills schools

Thousands trapped inside police shooting perimeter in Woodland Hills

LAUSD to review whether all high schools are following district’s weapons-search policy

-- Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton, Ann M. Simmons, Nate Jackson, Ching-Ching Ni and Kate Linthicum

Interactive map: Shows location of shooting, nearby schools on lockdown and other information related to the shooting outside El Camino Real High School. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

Am I the only one who questions the wisdom in keeping all the kids locked down, all day, then releasing them after dark to walk home or to other staging locations? Clearly it was done for safety sake, but isn't it far more dangerous now, as thousands of kids are on the streets, in the dark, fighting traffic that is not used to seeing pedestrians everywhere? Seems that could have been handled differently.

there's got to be a better way to deal with this situation, the cost of this lockdown must be astronomical, and for what, did they even catch the guy?

This guy was gone in 10 minutes or less. By the time the cops got there he was miles away. He could have easily taken the bus.(He probably got lucky and the bus actually came on time) Seven square miles, that's 2 miles by 3.5 miles or so. He could have walked out in about 25 minutes or less, why would he stop? If he had a bike or a car, it would be about 10 minutes at most. It made no sense for him to approach anyone or take a hostage. The search was useless, make work, get overtime, with total disregard for the students and the parents.

This is media fueled frenzy! Overreaction by LAPD. The "perfect" storm of incompetence and paranoia. Wow. A gross over reaction and they didn't catch the suspect. The massive budgets for Police personnel, training and hi-tech toys! This is a major FAILURE !

I say the whole thing is dubious. Quit putting so many kids in one place. It does not make sense. Smaller schools, smaller classes, smaller crisis with smaller likelihood of unfolding. Overcrowding causes these issues. And it always takes some awful event to get district officials pontificating as they react to the sutuation with typical ignorance about social order, developing psychology and logical structure.This happened because they have not done what they are handsomely paid to do. They did not, prepare or provide adequate oversight. None of the south bay HS use those wands at all; they make up policy as they go along.Some poor principal will lose his job.Probably one of the few good ones.

Turning schools into secure prisons will not counter these conditions any better than it does in the yards. Penal reform? Bad for business.
Meaningful education reform would mean the same for districts like lausd--where they pack poor kids in for 35 bucks each 5 times a week. students are counted. They do not count.
Truancy is essentially one of the few transgression there are consequences for. What's that say? And who can blame a teen ditching at a school in such grim conditions?
Teaching them appears to be missing from the district's agenda. Protecting this an empty gesture.

My kids attend one of the schools that was under lockdown and I feel that our principal and LAUSD handled the situation very well. Yes, my child had to pee in a trash can but I would rather be safe than sorry in a situation like yesterday's. There are too many guns on the street. I support a ban of the production and sale of these guns, especially the semi-automatic type.

Hey thrugreeneyez,

Banning guns is as effective as banning drugs. In other words, people can still get them. And I don't think you know what the word "semiautomatic" means. You child would be better off packing heat and getting gun training than peeing in a trash can while fat LAPD goons fail to catch a maniac crackhead.

HAHAHA. TURNS OUT TO BE A FALSE REPORT. COP SHOT HIMSELF AND CAUSES THIS INSANE MANHUNT. 350 OFFICERS AND THEY COULDNT FIGURE IT OUT. NO MORE MONEY FOR COPS UNTIL THEY CAN PROVE THEMSELVES WORTHY AND CAPABLE OF THE JOB.


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