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Police investigate overnight shooting at Santa Barbara elementary school

A Santa Barbara police officer stands guard Thursday outside Cleveland School in Santa Barbara, which was closed Thursday while detectives investigated a shooting that occurred there overnight.
A Santa Barbara police officer stands guard Thursday outside Cleveland School in Santa Barbara, which was closed Thursday while detectives investigated a shooting that occurred there overnight. Noozhawk

Cleveland Elementary School in Santa Barbara was closed Thursday while detectives investigated a shooting that occurred there overnight, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

At about 2:10 a.m., Santa Barbara police dispatchers received several calls reporting “shots fired” and “fireworks” in the area of the school at 123 Alameda Padre Serra, said Anthony Wagner, a police spokesman.

Within minutes, responding officers located a man on the campus who had suffered a gunshot wound, Wagner said.

The victim required emergency care and was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

His name and details on his injuries were not available, but he reportedly was in critical condition.

Detectives and forensic investigators were processing the scene within the campus.

“Preliminary investigative leads suggest the incident does not appear to be random — there is no imminent threat to the school or surrounding community,” Wagner said. “The incident does not involve anyone associated with the school.”

The suspects in the case were described only as two Hispanic males, Wagner said. After the shooting, the men stole the victim’s vehicle — a 2000 dark-blue Honda Accord with California license 5AGL756, Wagner said.

santa barbara shooting.jpg
This vehicle was stolen Thursday from a man who was shot at Cleveland School in Santa Barbara. Police are asking anyone who spots the 2000 Honda Accord to call 9-1-1.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the vehicle is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

“The suspect(s) are considered armed and potentially dangerous,” Wagner said. “Do not attempt to make contact with the occupants should the stolen vehicle be sighted.”

The department is working with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Wagner said.

In its initial reports about the incident and school closure Thursday morning, police would only say that a “non-school related crime” was being investigated.

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was dispatched to the scene to visually and geographically process evidence.

Residents may hear and see the helicopter engaging in low fly-over maneuvers, Wagner said, adding that it is not being used to track outstanding subjects.

“The investigation remains ongoing,” Wagner said.

Parents, students and faculty were notified of the school cancellation Thursday morning, police said.

Cleveland School and all of its after-school programs will reopen Friday and return to the regular school schedule, according to a Facebook posting from the school district.

“As a reminder,” the district said, “tomorrow is an early release day (12 p.m.) and the end of trimester.”

In addition, the district issued this statement: “We want to emphasize that the isolated incident was not related to Cleveland Elementary. That being said, Principal Sandoval will be on campus tomorrow morning in the cafeteria starting at 8:20 a.m. with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Raul Ramirez to answer any questions families may have. Furthermore, students and families will have access to CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) counselors in the library (compassion center).”

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact Detective Douglas Klug at 805-897-2346 or Detective Sergeant Dan Tagles at 805-897-2347. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call 805-897-2386.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at bholland@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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