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Colony Oak campus goes into lockdown after shooting
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Ripon officers stand watch in front of Colony Oak School on Murphy Road after they and sheriff’s officers had been searching for two men with a shotgun for some two hours. After the search was called off, sheriff’s deputies and Ripon police focused on the safety of the students and converged at the school for the afternoon dismissal. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — A single shotgun blast in a rural Ripon home Thursday noon brought more than a dozen officers to the scene – some with automatic weapons – locking down one elementary school for some two hours.

San Joaquin County Sheriff’s deputies with canines and Ripon Police officers scoured the thick almond orchards in the vicinity of Colony Road looking for a pair of 16-year-old teens who fled after one shot at a family member went through a wall after he was refused money.

Sheriff’s spokesman Les Garcia said that an aunt living in the home received superficial wounds from shattering tile that hit her while she was standing in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.  She was later treated by paramedics who had staged their unit away from the scene.

After the first report reached the Ripon dispatcher, police units with sirens blaring flooded into the area east of Colony Oak Elementary School.  A Ripon patrolman was first on the scene and it was decided to order a lock down of the school.  Witnesses said one youth had left after the shooting carrying the single-shot 410 gauge shotgun.

Officers set up a perimeter closing off the area from traffic and searched the orchards, fields and a nearby canal for the suspects described as having closely shaved heads.  Colony Oak Elementary School has some 425 students and is located just outside the city limits on Murphy Road.  Colony Road runs off of Murphy Road at the south edge of the campus.

The school district attempted to notify parents and care givers of the elementary students that there had been an incident that caused Colony Oak to be locked down for the children’s safety.  Many never got the word because they were not home or did not have their cell phones with them.

Parents driving eastbound on Milgeo Avenue on their way to pick up children at about 2 p.m. became concerned and some mildly hysterical when they realized they didn’t have access to the children and didn’t know why or what had happened at the school as they were told to turn around on the roadway.

They were later told they could access the school by driving to the east to West Santos Road that borders the north side of the campus.

The Sheriff’s Department called off the search at dismissal time and deputies and Ripon officers positioned themselves around the school to guarantee the safety of students and parents picking up children.

As students were sent out of their classrooms to go home parents flooded up against a school fence and anxiously waited to clasp children’s hands and give them pent up hugs.  Cars were parked on both sides of the road and the parking lots were filled.

As parents pulled away from the campus sheriff’s units were still in plain sight keeping a vigil on the rural roads and orchards near the school.