Latest: 10:30 pm, 4/21/17, Friday
DANVILLE — School leaders had to lock down schools for the third time in one week. Five times, shots were fired. Friday’s incident put three schools on soft lockdown. Now, parents are on edge.
For many parents and kids, school is considered a safe place, a place of learning and fostering friendships.
Now, the district is trying to keep it that way, after several shootings happened within blocks of school buildings.
“That’s scary. It’s very scary because this can happen anytime, anywhere. You never know,” said Mira Bhavsar.
Bhavsar’s daughter goes to Danville High School. That school was locked down Wednesday.
“I got a message from my phone from my daughter,” said Bhavsar. “She said they’re locked down because there is a shooting going on very close to the street.”
But, how do you tell a young child someone’s on the loose with a gun? The superintendent said they make sure each time, young kids know enough to understand why they have to stay put, but not more than they need to.
“Our teachers are professionals. On a case-by-case basis, grade-by-grade, we kind of tailor the situation so that they can understand we’re taking care of them,” said Superintendent Alicia Geddis.
Geddis has kids of her own, asking the same questions.
“Just to let them know that mommy is in constant contact with the police department, they give us direction, and they’re doing everything possible to eliminate or minimize everything that is going on,” said Geddis.
Northeast Elementary was locked down three times this week. Parents say it’s unsettling. Some are even considering moving to a different area. Others say they have faith in the school district to make sure their kids stay out of harm’s way.
“I think the parents of Danville District 118 know that this administration and this Board of Education, our teachers, we’re going to do everything possible to keep our children safe and we are always going to err on the side of caution,” said Geddis.
Police are investigating all these crimes. The school district said they are working closely with police to ensure the safety of students.
In one case, a man was hurt. A 20-year old was treated for a non-life threatening shoulder injury. It happened Wednesday, about 6:30 pm.
Update: 4:00 pm, 4/19/17, Wednesday
DANVILLE — Danville High School was put on hard lock-down after a shooting in a nearby neighborhood.
Students were released Wednesday afternoon, but school leaders wanted to make sure they were kept safe until police cleared the area.
Officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 500-block of West Jackson Street. The incident is still under investigation, but no one was hurt.
Since it happened so close to school grounds, the facility was immediately put on lock-down.
“I saw the officers down there and people talking and when I pulled up, my phone rang.”
It was a call from the school to all parents.
“They sent out a message stating that the school was on lock-down, that none of the kids were in immediate danger, but there was a lock-down due to what was happening in the area.”
Police say a witness saw someone shooting a gun into the air on Jackson Street, just a few blocks from the school.
“My son text me saying, ‘Mom, we’re not able to leave because there’s something going on around town.'”
At the time, school officials didn’t have any details, but they decided to take precautions and keep kids inside.
“We were just sitting in the auditorium and they gave us directions and just told us what to do and to stay calm.”
Police cleared the area early in the afternoon. About noon, the lock-down was lifted and students were released.
“I’m just waiting on my son to come out.”
She wasn’t alone. Several other parents sat in their cars waiting to pick up their kids.
“Patiently waiting for my son to come out. No matter how old they get, you still want them to be safe.”
“There’s always a worry, not knowing what would happen. It’s a crazy world out there, but I know the school is taking care of all the kids.”
Police checked the area, but could not find the suspect. The investigation is ongoing.
Something similar happened Tuesday, at Northeast Elementary.
A domestic dispute was reported near the school. Parents say the suspect ran from police through the school grounds.
They also say police believed he dropped a gun in the area. The school was put on soft lock-down and all evening events were canceled. No gun was ever recovered.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers or police.
DANVILLE — Police are investigating a report of shots fired. It happened about 10:45 am, Wednesday, in the 500-block of Jackson Street.
As a precaution, District #118 put Danville High School on a hard lock-down while police responded to the area.
A witness reported seeing a man, black, shooting a gun into the air, then fleeing from the scene. A suspect could not be found. No one was hurt.
School leaders lifted the lock-down after about an hour.