Gunshots that led to school lockdown were fired by 11-year-old, police say

UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.:

An 11-year-old boy admitted firing a gun in an Atascadero neighborhood Thursday, police said, an incident that led to a lockdown at a local elementary school.

The boy’s name has not been disclosed because he is a minor.

Around 7:50 a.m., officers responded to a report of gunfire near the 8600 block of Atascadero Avenue, according to police Cmdr. Steve Gesell.

That neighborhood is about a mile from Santa Rosa Road Academic Academy, so police advised school officials to lock down the campus as a precaution.

While officers were canvassing the neighborhood and evacuating residents, the boy approached police on his bicycle and said he was going to school, Gesell said, so officers let him pass.

After an initial lead, police obtained a search warrant for someone they called a "person of interest," but their investigation determined that person was not a suspect, Gesell said. While conducting a neighborhood follow-up at 3 p.m., an officer noticed a car parked near a home that was empty during the morning canvass and interviewed the residents.

The boy then arrived at the house, where he lived, and confessed to firing a gun on Wednesday and Thursday morning, Gesell said.

The gun was described as a large caliber revolver kept by the boy’s father, Gesell said. It wasn’t registered to the father, Gesell added, but to the previous owner of the home.

Police say evidence indicates that the boy wasn’t shooting at anything in particular. Officers are now interviewing him and his parents to determine whether charges will be filed.

“The outcome here could have clearly been tragic,” Gesell said. “We’re hopeful these and other parents will take note and ensure their firearms are properly secured, especially when there are children in the house.”

— Tonya Strickland

UPDATE, 11:54 a.m.:

The lockdown at Santa Rosa Road Academic Academy in Atascadero has been lifted, according to the Atascadero Police Department.

The lockdown began at approximately 8 a.m. and ended around 9:30 a.m., officials said. No injuries were reported.

Around 7:50 a.m., officers responded to a report of shots fired in a neighborhood in the 8600 block of Atascadero Avenue, according to police Cmdr. Steve Gesell.

The school is on the corner of Santa Rosa Road and Atascadero Avenue, more than a mile away from the area where the gunfire was reported. Police recommended the school lockdown as a precautionary measure.

"Sometimes we get these type of calls, and it turns out to be a car backfiring," Gesell said. "But we believe this to actually be a legitimate report of gunfire."

Officers found an expended bullet in the area, Gesell said.

Police have identified a person of interest, Gesell said, only disclosing that it is an Atascadero resident who lives on the 8600 block of Atascadero Avenue but wasn't home when officers went to find the person. That person may currently be at work, Gesell said. Officers are now following a lead to that person's workplace and seeking a search warrant for the home.

Police said there is no evidence that the shooter was targeting another person. The investigation is ongoing.

Officers canvassed the neighborhood and evacuated surrounding homes, Gesell said, in addition to advising school officials to bring everyone indoors.

The road closure around the neighborhood and evacuations were lifted around 10:15 a.m.

— Tonya Strickland

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.:

The lockdown at Santa Rosa elementary school in Atascadero has been lifted. Surrounding roads are also open.

Original story:

Santa Rosa Road Academic Academy in Atascadero is on lockdown this morning.

Shots were reportedly fired in the surrounding neighborhood, according to an Atascadero police dispatcher. No further information was available.

While a school district representative said law enforcement directed the elementary school to go on lockdown due to an incident in the area, a police dispatcher said the school voluntarily went on lockdown.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.