Tulsa's Clinton Elementary locked down after shots reported
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
12/19/12 at 4:58 AM
A Tulsa elementary school was locked down for several hours Tuesday when several people said they heard gunshots near the school.
No one was hurt, and police continued to look for the possible shooter Tuesday evening.
At 1:56 p.m., Tulsa police received a report of five to six shots fired just north of Celia Clinton Elementary School, 1740 N. Harvard Ave., said Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley.
Parents nearby heard the shots and went to the school to tell officials, who then placed the school on lockdown, Ashley said.
"There's nothing to indicate that people were shooting at the school," Ashley said.
Parents, police and school officials said that with the mass shooting Friday in Newtown, Conn., still so fresh, any event involving guns near a school was concerning.
"People are on edge," said TPS spokesman Chris Payne.
Concerned parents swarmed to the school, frustrated that they could not get their kids while police cleared the area. Parents picked up their kids about two hours after the school was locked down.
Esmeralda Hernandez has a 10-year-old granddaughter who attends the school. She said she lives a few blocks from the school and heard the shots.
"I walked over, and I was scared," she said. "I was just thinking the worst."
Hernandez said she had talked with her granddaughter about the shooting in Connecticut where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed by a gunman who apparently killed himself and his mother. Hernandez said her granddaughter was anxious about what happened.
"She was just terrified," Hernandez said. "I know she's really scared right now."
There are 608 children who attend the prekindergarten through sixth-grade school. Payne said the children inside the school did not know what was happening inside until they were released. Five other elementary schools in the area were briefly locked down Tuesday while police searched for the shooter.
The shooter is described as a black man between 5-foot-8 and 6-foot, wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt and dark blue jeans. The subject was not located, but police said they believed the area was safe before the children were released to their guardians.
Parents were allowed to retrieve their children about 3:45 p.m. They had been told about 3:15 p.m. that their children would remain at the school until police determined the area was clear.
"We're not going to let a kid out of here on their own. We have to take all safety precautions to make sure these kids are safe," Ashley said.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa elementary locked down after shots reported
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Wilmar Diaz and Patricia Arce wait to pick up their son in pre-K during a lockdown at Celia Clinton Elementary School on Tuesday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World