Two men are in custody after a shooting in Van Nuys left two injured and prompted the hourslong lockdown of a nearby charter school Thursday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Officers responded after receiving a report of shots fired in the 6800 block of Van Nuys Boulevard shortly after 12:10 p.m., LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said at an afternoon news conference.
The location is across the street from CHAMPS Charter High School, but the shooting did not take place on campus, Montgomery emphasized.
When police arrived, they discovered two victims, identified only as a male student and a female school employee, he said.
Both were transported and in stable condition, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Trevor Richmond.
Sky5 aerial video over the campus showed two patients conscious and sitting upright as they were wheeled away on gurneys toward awaiting ambulances.
Friends identified the student victim as 11th grader Harper Maloney and said he was shot in the leg.
Maloney posted a video to social media from his hospital bed, assuring friends he’s going to be alright.
“Yeah I’m chillin’,” he says in the footage, wearing a big grin. “I’m here to tell you I’m OK.”
Maloney’s friend Marvin Chong said he witnessed the moment he was shot.
“I just see one of my friend and he’s crossing the street and he just gets shot,” Chong told KTLA. “Two gunshots, everyone hears, and everyone just froze for a second like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ”
Journey Channel, another student, said the employee struck was an assistant teacher in her math class.
“She was in my math class every day for first period, taking notes and watching the class, watching what we do,” Channel said. “She was nice.”
Meanwhile, police set up a perimeter and the school was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure, Montgomery said.
Multiple police vehicles could be seen parked in the area, including on the campus, the aerial footage showed.
It was unclear exactly where the shots were fired, but a side street across from the school — and located between a Jack in the Box on one corner and a Starbucks on the other — was cordoned off with crime scene tape. Evidence markers could also be seen on the street, according to video from Sky5.
Police took two men into custody in connection with the incident, including one a short time after the shooting, police said. A gun was recovered at the scene.
The suspects were being questioned Thursday night by police, who were working to determine if the men are connected to the campus in any way.
Around 3:15 p.m., students were being reunited with parents and guardians after LAPD announced the apprehension of a second suspect.
Though the shooting didn’t happen on campus, some students reported hearing gunshots while they were on campus.
“It was two loud bangs and we knew we had to run,” student Kayin Quinn said, recalling the frightening moments that caused panic on campus.
She said students fled and looked for safe locations to hide amid the chaotic moments.
“I’m scared obviously,” Quinn told KTLA in a phone interview. “But it’s been happening so much in America and everywhere that I mean the first instinct is just to run, hide, and stay safe.”
The teacher in the class told students to keep quiet, and handed out snacks and water to them, she said. They could hear police and firefighters outside the classroom, which had some 50 people in at the time.
Another student, Charlie Rees, was outside eating lunch when he heard two gunshots to his right, prompting him to run inside.
He heard that a teacher and a student were victims of the shooting, Rees told KTLA in a phone interview as he waited in a classroom that had yet to be secured by law enforcement.
Quinn said about 750 students attend CHAMPS, which — according to the school’s website — stands for Charter High School of Arts-Multimedia and Performing.
Members of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s crisis team responded to the school to help those affected.
Administrators said classes would resume as usual Friday, but counselors would be on hand for those affected.
KTLA’s Meghan McMonigle, Angela Bickmann and Kristina Bravo contributed to this story.