Lockdown of Carpenter School Ends as Homicide Suspect Is Captured

LAPD manhunt causes lockdown at Carpenter Community Charter School in Studio City; suspect Luis Solano, 20, is in custody.

A lockdown occurred at Carpenter Community Charter School when a man who was wanted for questioning in connection to a murder investigation was seen in the area. 

(See the photo gallery and videos.)

Two nearby private schools, l and across Laurel Canyon Boulevard, were also in lockdown mode. The disruption has no effect on Bridges' big fundraiser on Saturday night.

Below is the full report, as well as updates.


Carpenter Community Charter School was locked down Friday as a precaution as Los Angeles police searched for a slaying suspect in Studio City.

The search began at about 11 a.m. and was being conducted near the school at 3909 Carpenter Ave., according to Los Angeles Unified School District officials.

"A murder suspect was identified by an undercover cop. He fled on foot. He is being sought in the area," said Mike Lewis, LAPD senior lead officer for Studio City.

"He ran through an apartment complex in the vicinity of the school [Carpenter Community Charter]," Lewis said. "Police helicopters are on the scene along with K-9 dog units. We think he's hiding in the bushes somewhere."

Lewis said that parents who are trying to come to the school and pick up their children were being told to stay at home until further notice.

The undercover police officer was looking for graffiti taggers when he spotted a person he believed to be one of two suspects wanted in connection with a killing in North Hollywood. The suspect's photograph was recently passed out among all LAPD officers. 

The City News Service reported that another suspect in Mendoz's death was arrested earlier, according to LAPD Officer Christopher No, who did not know the other suspect's name or when the arrest occurred.

At no time was the suspect on the premises of the school campuses in any of the three local schools, authorities said. Carpenter is the largest campus, holding 850 students.

Traffic around Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards was at a standstill for nearly an hour around lunch time, but by 3 p.m. it was the usual Friday afternoon traffic situation.

UPDATE: 1:17 p.m. Carpenter Principal Joseph Martinez sent out a robo-call to parents from the school 10 minutes ago. He let them know that three school buses of children that were on a field trip have been rerouted to Dixie Canyon School at 4220 Dixie Canyon Dr., and can be picked up from there by parents. These students are currently the only students that can be collected.

"Everybody is fine on campus, but at this time we can't have buses or cars at the school," Martinez said.

Local parent Maureen Herman, who lives diagonally across from Carpenter, sends her second-grade daughter Anna to the school.

“I was glad to hear that they are not telling the kids what’s going on," Herman toldPatch, "but my gosh, the helicopter will certainly scare them. I know that Anna knows that when helicopters are around like this they’re looking for a bad guy. She knows what it means to have this many helicopters."

Herman, who works at Tujunga and Ventura boulevards, received a text from the school that read: “Stay inside. Your daughter's school is on lock down. Murder suspect out there." Herman said she ran to her house and sneaked  through the police line to get in.

The streets within half a mile of the school are deserted; police have not told anyone to stay inside, but people are staying away voluntarily.


UPDATE: 1:27 p.m. Homicide suspect Luis Solano, 20, has been captured by police in Studio City, and authorities have confirmed that he is now in police custody. Solano reportedly was found hiding in bushes in front of an apartment building on Laurelwood Drive, just up the hill from Carpenter Elementary.

UPDATE: 1:54 p.m. The lockdown is over at Carpenter, and some parents have arrived early to pick up their children. There are currently about 20 parents waiting in the lobby; the school has asked parents that they only arrive early if they have an emergency. Otherwise they should wait until the regular  school dismissal time at 2:20 p.m.

UPDATE: 2:16 p.m. Los Angeles police Officer Christopher No said that Luis Solano, 20, who was captured by police earlier Friday, was wanted in the shotgun homicide of Pedro Mendoza in a North Hollywood alley on Nov. 18. 

UPDATE: 4:53 p.m TV crews and fire trucks were outside Carpenter Community Charter School in Studio City, where students were all released at their usual dismissal time, despite Friday's police activity in the area. The students are now on a weeklong spring break.  

Anna King and Craig Clough contributed to this report.

Cat Jagger-Pollon April 15, 2011 at 08:58 PM
OK, I know it's important to let parents know what's going on with the schools but does this whole story have to be about "THE CHILDREN"??? Guess what, ALL the residents of Studio City are impacted by this in various ways; far more than the kiddies, in some cases. So can we just get a teensy bit more balance in the reportage of this event? I, for one will be ever so grateful.
VonRiesling April 15, 2011 at 09:41 PM
My kid is in kindergarten at Carpenter, so I don't mind. If someone I knew lived or worked in area I could call them, but I can't call a student in class. Also he very well could have been hiding on the school property, and that's a bigger news story than "hiding in the bushes in a creek."
notmyfault April 16, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Parents!!!! please be carful as Solano may have thrown a weapon around the school. Solano is known to carry a gun. Tell your children if they see a gun, not to pick it up.
KJ for CCC April 16, 2011 at 06:05 PM
My girl is in the 4th grade at Carpenter Community Charter (CCC), formerly known as Carpenter Elem Sch. I am very impressed with Mr. Martinez, the Principal at CCC and all teachers and admins. Mr. Martinez kepts all parents informed 3 times via robo-call as well as email during the lockdown that students were safe and lunch was delivered to students in the class room. He assured all of our classes were secure and was in contact with LAPD for the status. The teachers kept students clam and productive. They handled the nerve breaking situation so well and I as a parent, feel relieve that my girl is in good hands. Thanks everyone at CCC, especially Mr. Martinez for communicating to parents at all times. NO BUDGET CUT FOR THE BEST PRINCIPAL AND TEACHERS .


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