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Campus intruder forces code blue

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Around 20 minutes after hopping a fence and entering UPA's buildings, police take the suspect into custody.

Around 20 minutes after hopping a fence and entering UPA's buildings, police take the suspect into custody.

Kristian Crowther

Around 20 minutes after hopping a fence and entering UPA's buildings, police take the suspect into custody.

Kristian Crowther

Kristian Crowther

Around 20 minutes after hopping a fence and entering UPA's buildings, police take the suspect into custody.

Kristian Crowther, Multimedia Manager

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At around 10 a.m on Nov. 16, just as the ten-minute break was about to end, students in the Learning Center found themselves shoved inside random classrooms by faculty.

On the final day of instruction before the highly anticipated Thanksgiving break, the heavy smoke outside was not the only threat that kept students inside the classroom.

UPA students were now faced with the added stress of an unknown trespasser on campus which threw students and staff into panic.

It was initially unclear to students why staff members were shouting in the Learning Center hallways, urging everyone to keep inside, but the sight of their peers being pulled into dark classrooms and desks being used as barricades was enough for them to comply.

“[I was] talking to my friends about a certain math problem,” junior Madeline Coquilla, who was barricaded inside of the San Jose State classroom, said. “Moments later, there was a clamor of students rushing against the window facing the section that separated the children’s playground and the Horton building. I then learned something was wrong, and I wasn’t sure what.”

The source of the commotion: a man in a football jersey, athletic shorts and a durag on his head had hopped the fence near the back Horton entrance and entered the building, startling students as he caused some to run down the back halls of the Horton.

“[The trespasser] couldn’t climb all the way so he fell straight on his side, then he looked up and started running toward us,” junior Yerus Solomon said, who was near the Horton stairs with her friends when she saw the man enter campus. “[We] took off so I started running too and ran into Mr. Torres.”

Multimedia Arts teacher Leo Salcedo, one of the faculty members responsible for subduing the suspect, describes his reactions encountering the suspect.

“He was huge. He looked like a football player,” Salcedo said. “My mind was racing trying to figure out what this guy wants. Is he trying to hurt people? Is he a drifter? I really had no idea.”

The presence of the man on campus soon became known and administrators had him surrounded in the hallway.

Students watched in confusion as the man then burst through with administrators Andrew Yau and Matt Daugherty along with Salcedo following him outside then up the stairs of the Learning Center.

As Salcedo herded students into classrooms, Director of Business Operations Dan Ordaz Jr. announced a Code Blue through the phone system.

Students waited patiently inside of classes while the situation was being dealt with, but the man then entered the Stanford classroom. He later moved back into the hallway, hurtling toward a group of students and making it down the north stairs to the MySchool Lobby where he was eventually tackled and subdued by Yau and Salcedo until police arrived 20 minutes later.

“[The administrators] told us to run out, so we began to run and [the man] ran after us,” freshman Rogerio Gonzalez said, who was in Stanford at the time of the event. “We were in Stanford, and we ran out through the second exit and he was following us. He jumped down the staircase [and] the last thing I saw was Mr. Yau on his back holding him. We walked to the multipurpose room and stayed there [until] the cops arrived.”

It is unclear why the man hopped the fence and entered the classroom, but teachers say there was a high chance he was intoxicated.

The school was out of code blue at approximately 10:20 a.m, with Daugherty and Ordaz Jr. coming in classroom to classroom to discuss the counseling resources on campus for those traumatized by the incident.

“I’m pretty shaken up, but we got through it,” Gonzales said. “I’m very glad no one got hurt.”

About the Contributor
Kristian Crowther, Multimedia Manager

Kristian Crowther, a junior in high school, is starting his second year in journalism. He chose to take it again because he wants to help build a stronger...

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