A volunteer art teacher was suddenly locked out and her art supplies were inside. A mom needed to get her boy to catch a flight to Chicago. And, a normally skittish deaf and blind dog named Daisy who was coming for part of a program for Special Needs Awareness Week, curled up comfortably in a corner of the library while second graders were in lockdown with her at on Friday.
Those were some of the stories that took place while at least five police and media helicopters buzzed above the school, and police K-9 units scoured the bushes outside for a murder suspect spotted just outside the campus grounds. The suspect was finally captured shortly after 1 p.m., just up the hill from the school on Laurelwood Drive, where he was hiding in bushes. (Click here to see story.)
Three schools were ordered to lock down by the Los Angeles Police Department until the suspect was caught. across Laurel Canyon Boulevard and the were also closed.
Carpenter is the largest, with 850 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Many of the students were eager to go on spring break for a week. Three classes were away on a field trip, and their buses were diverted to Dixie Canyon Elementary School.
kept parents aware of the situation almost simultaneously with media reports of the lockdown. Within minutes he had robo-calls going out to parents of all the students, and he sent out emails on his emergency email lists and Twitter messages to parents he knew.
Martinez sent out three robo-calls and sounded calm from inside the locked facility where three LAPD officers were stationed with the students. During lockdown, no one is allowed to wander the halls, no one is allowed to leave the rooms they are in, and no one is allowed to come in or out of the school grounds.
Outside the school, frantic parents drove up to LAPD Senior Lead Officer Mike Lewis, who covers Studio City and is a familiar face to the community. He told them they couldn’t go to the school, and they couldn’t get their children. “The kids are safe where they are,” he assured them.
The streets around Carpenter were unusually vacant, and the heat hit 90 degrees.
Maureen Herman, who lives diagonally across the street from the school, came home early from work when she saw all the helicopters. She was worried that her daughter would hear them and get scared.
“I know that Anna knows that when helicopters are around like this they’re looking for a bad guy,” Herman said. “She knows what it means to have this many helicopters."
But then, Herman received another robo-call from Martinez, and this time he said “Everyone is fine” and the children were not told what was going on outside.
In fact, many of the students couldn’t hear the helicopters. Windows were closed and shuttered, and the air conditioning was on.
Darcy Martin, a behavioral education teacher, who had a group of fourth graders when the lockdown was announced, said "They were fine, actually."
She said they played games and tried to be louder than the noise of the helicopters outside.
"It was the teachers that were more freaking out," Martin said.
Andy Leech, a parent-volunteer, was inside the library with a class of second graders, Daisy the blind and deaf dog, her dog friend—a pitbull mix—and local author Maryam Faresh who wrote What About Daisy?
“The children got extra time with the dogs, and they loved it," Leech said. "We couldn’t hear any of the commotion going on outside.”
Phil Weiss was supposed to pick up his fourth-grade son, Jack, at noon to get him to a basketball game with his older brother. The fourth graders were stuck inside the classroom, where they couldn’t go to the bathroom, and some of them had delayed lunches.
“I was a little concerned, but they seemed to have it under control,” Weiss said. “It was nice that we got the voice mails and emails from the principal to keep up to date.”
Jack Weiss said, “I didn’t really know what was going on. Nobody told us. But some of the teachers seemed scared.”
Some students guessed what was happening and asked the teachers, but administrators gave clear instructions not to give any information to the children.
Police outside were given the all-clear call, but Carpenter needed to hear it from officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District as well.
Although the office was swarmed with parents wanting to take their children home early, the administrators tried convincing them to wait 20 minutes until the 2:30 release time.
“Everything seemed to work smoothly,” said Leech, who has a second grader. "The kids were great; they were all just fine. I was more concerned about the dogs."