Lunch break play by four high school students Wednesday didn’t bode well with police after nine officers responded to a 911 caller fearing the worst when they spotted four students – two boys and two girls – riding in separate vehicles brandishing what appeared to be deadly weapons.
One of the boys was wearing a ski mask and the other a bandana tied around his neck that was pulled up over his nose and mouth, police said.
Officers said the caller feared there was about to be an ambush when the youth were spotted in their cars in the drive-thru of Kentucky Fried Chicken on East Yosemite Avenue at Cottage Avenue. One hand gun was a replica of a Glock, often carried by law enforcement personnel.
The Glock replica was only a BB gun, however, that was loaded with steel ammunition. Officers said it could easily have drawn fire if it had been pointed at them or anyone else who was armed. Sgt. Michael Aguilar said with all of the shootings that have occurred recently in the Manteca area, the community is on a state of alert and watchful of anyone with a gun. Sgt. Aguilar said the students were on their lunch break when the incident occurred at about 12:45 p.m.
The semi-automatic handgun replica is required to have an orange tip on its muzzle. It had no orange tip, officers said. The other weapons in the vehicles were Nerf guns that were quickly recognized by officers to be non-lethal.
Officer Cory Dufour made the initial stop on Yosemite Avenue. He said while he waited for backup from other patrolmen and detectives, the students – three 18 and one 17 – just laughed and giggled about the situation obviously thinking it was a big joke, the officer added. They soon realized differently as they were being surrounded by officers pointing real guns at them and ordering them out of their cars with their hands held up high over their heads.
Each student responded, slowing walking backwards to the sound of police voices where they were handcuffed and detained on a curbing, watching as officers searched both vehicles – a silver Dodge 300 and a Windstar Minivan.
The right hand westbound traffic lane was closed for a short period of time during the incident, officers said, but the action didn’t cause any significant delay.
Two high school administrators responded to the scene from Manteca High, police said, noting they would take care of the situation back at school. All the parents of the students involved were called to the scene so they could see just what had transpired and get a look at the weapon replica that could possibly have gotten the students shot if it had been perceived as a real gun.