Students react to shots fired outside school

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “So I ran and I hid behind a car until everybody was going inside,” Josiah Palmer, sophomore at Centennial High School, said.

Students were fearing for their lives after a gun was fired outside of their school today. This happened outside Centennial High School. Centennial, Jefferson Middle and IPA Elementary all went on lockdown. As of tonight, Champaign Police say they are still investigating and no one is in custody.

Lots of parents were outside the school waiting to pick up their kids. One mom said she was mad she did not get an email from the school district while it was all happening. They got one less than two hours after the shots were fired. Now, some students say they have to try and learn, while not feeling safe in their school.

“It just freaked me out. My heart just dropped,” Cornellus Reitzell, a junior at Centennial High School, said.

Three schools went on lockdown after shots were fired in a field north of Centennial High School in Champaign. Police say they responded to the shots fired call around 1:30 in the afternoon. They say no one was hurt, but it was traumatizing for students.

“I ran and just took off running, didn’t look back, waited for everything is good and head back to school,” Reitzell said.

Meanwhile, other students were outside on the football field enjoying gym class when they heard the gunshots.

“All that we heard was like loud shooting and then everybody just took off running back inside,” Palmer said.

Reitzell, who just transferred to Centennial, says enough is enough. Last week police say a student showed a gun during a fight. They’re now looking for 18-year-old Pereze Collier. No one was hurt, but Centennial and Jefferson Middle School went into a lockdown then too. Students say they want to see more safety measures implemented.

“I would love to see more security and stuff like that because it’s just insane. Someone could’ve got hurt,” Reitzell said.

Parents and grandparents were just as upset as students, as they sat outside the school waiting for their loved ones to come back to them safely.

“Our concerns are for their safety and I don’t know how it can possibly a good learning environment, when the kids are so concerned about if they’re going to be safe in the hallway and the teachers’ hands are tied behind their backs,” Cathy Crowder, grandmother, said.

Reitzell and Palmer say they do not feel safe coming back to school.

“Honestly I just got off the phone talking to my dad and stuff and tell him I don’t know about this school to be honest,” Reitzell said.

The school district has been talking about more safety procedures. They said they plan to install security cameras and increase the number of officers. WCIA called today and asked for more details on what that entails. No one got back to us. The superintendent did announce a new anonymous tip line where people can call in concerns and she said schools will be randomly using metal detector wands.

These lockdowns aren’t the only safety concerns parents have had. On Thursday, a school bus was unintentionally shot during a drive-by shooting. There were students on board, but no one was hurt. The district, police and mayor later held a news conference talking about their commitment to student and staff safety.

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