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Haight Street shooting tests Urban School’s new lockdown procedures

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Haight Street shooting tests Urban School’s new lockdown procedures

Caution tape blocked off Fred's New Lite Supermarket, where the shooting occurred. Photo by Hannah Gorman.

Hannah Gorman and Megan Madden, Staff writers

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An unidentified man was shot in the back Wednesday one block south of The Urban School, prompting a lockdown as well as a test of Urban’s new emergency procedures.

The shooting took place at at 1:20 p.m. at Fred’s New Lite Supermarket, located at 1416 Haight Street, on the corner of Haight and Masonic Avenue.

According to Head of School Mark Salkind, a suspect was apprehended by police, and the wounded man is at San Francisco General Hospital.

Urban students were about to take their scheduled afternoon break at 1:30 p.m. when the incident occurred.

Instead, Urban implemented a lockdown procedure, for the first time in the school’s history, according to Salkind. Urban’s 350 students were not allowed to go off campus as is normal at breaks, and the school was called into a special assembly at 2:30 p.m..

Sgt. Dominic Panina of the San Francisco police department was at the scene and confirmed that a shooting had taken place. “There was a shooting,” Panina told a Legend reporter. ”There is one person in custody, and the person who got shot is at the hospital.  We are investigating it.”

Panina said that the victim was shot “once in the back. He might have a graze wound on his head.” When asked whether the shooter was “the owner of the corner store,” the officer replied, “no, he was not.”

Nico Kert (’12) said by e-mail Wednesday evening that he overheard police and a group of employees talking about the shooting at the scene.  According to Kert, “they said that Mike,” a homeless man often seen in the area, “was the guy who got shot.”

Urban students were worried and shocked by the shooting.  “It’s really startling that it happened right on Haight Street,” said Timmy Gonzales-Crane (’11). “It brings home concerns that are prevalent in the rest of the country, and it legitimizes the ‘just-in-case’ (drills) that we do.”

Beatrice Motamedi, Urban’s journalism adviser, was standing at the bus stop located at the corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue at 1:15 p.m. when she saw two fire trucks racing to the scene.

“Lights were flashing and horns were blaring,” Motamedi said. “A grey, unmarked police car shot to the curb of Masonic and Haight and two plainclothes policemen jumped out. Then another four black-and-whites arrived. A few minutes later, I saw the plainclothes cops return with a man, who they cuffed and put into the back seat of their car … The whole incident couldn’t have taken more than about 10 minutes.”

Motamedi added that she “called Urban to inform the school about what happened, but (Director of Communications) Kris Bailey knew and was already handling it.”

Urban has recently overhauled the lockdown procedures: A drill of the new system was scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18, and students were asked yesterday to give the school their cell phone numbers in case of a lockdown emergency.

While some students were reluctant to divulge this private information, the administration’s most urgent message in light of the afternoon’s events came from Monique Perry, assistant for academics/registrar, who urged students at the assembly to “put their numbers in PCR,” Urban’s administrative software system.

Also at the assembly, Salkind explained that “our lockdown procedures are triggered … when something violent occurs in the neighborhood” or “if a hostile intruder were to come into our building,” a possibility that Salkind called “extremely rare.”

Charlotte Worsely, assistant head for student life, said that if a violent intruder entered the school, students would stay in their classrooms with lights off and doors locked.

“You don’t respond to fire alarms; you don’t respond to anyone coming to the door,” Worsley said.  “The way you will eventually get out of the room is when a police officer comes to get you out.”

She added that the most important policy is not always to follow policy. “So much of a safety situation is just (to) use your common sense,” she said.  “Don’t wander the halls trying to follow the procedure. Instead, think: ‘Where is ‘safe’ right now?’”

The assembly ended with a minute of silence for the shooting victim, after which students were dismissed for the day.

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Haight Street shooting tests Urban School’s new lockdown procedures