Copper Theft, Report of Gunshot Near Serra High School

The high school was under lockdown for more than two hours Friday morning

By Megan Tevrizian, Artie Ojeda, Brandi Powell and R. Stickney
|  Friday, Sep 14, 2012  |  Updated 11:21 AM PDT
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Serra High School Lockdown: Images

Officers surround the canyon near the high school.

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Serra High School in Tierrasanta Put on Lockdown

NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian reports from the scene of a copper theft on Serra High School campus that resulted in a lockdown for several hours Friday, Sept. 14, 2012.

SDPD Lt. Joseph Ramos Updates Serra HS Lockdown

San Diego police Lt. Joseph Ramos updates the situation at Serra High School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012.
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Using a helicopter and SWAT members, San Diego police officers searched a canyon near a high school for suspects in a copper wire theft.

Contractors told police they saw two to three suspects leave the area near Serra High School on Santo Road with copper wire around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Officers called for backup when they reported hearing a gunshot in the canyon.

“We set up a perimeter and about 10 or 15 minutes, while we were waiting for more resources, we heard what sounded like a gunshot coming from down in the canyon. That’s why we were a little more cautious than we normally would be in these type of circumstances,” said Lt. Joseph Ramos with San Diego police. Watch SDPD statement

Police and school administrators locked down the campus at approximately 7 a.m. until 9:35 a.m. 

“We did not want to chase the suspects on to the campus obviously especially with the potential of them being armed,” Ramos said. “We had [school police] control the school, lock it down ensure the safety of the students while we searched for the suspects.”

Christii Johnson was dropping of her son who is a freshman at Serra HS when the school announced the lockdown. Her son went inside and staff asked her to leave.

She said she has spoken with her son since she dropped him off and he said everything is fine.

"It's a little unnerving, but everything seems under control," Johnson said.

As of 9 a.m., most of the school's 2,000 students were inside classrooms under supervision but about 300 students who normally take the bus were redirected to De Portola Middle School.

Students were held in portable units until a parent signed them out or they could be returned to the high school.

Freshman Victor Velazquez said he felt safe and he's glad that school administrators took him somewhere where he would be safe.

SWAT members arrived to help in the search of the canyon and a law enforcement helicopter circled above. 

They searched the canyon with a K-9 team. Police did not find suspects but did find some of the stolen property in the canyon. Ramos told NBC 7 San Diego officers are "very sure" suspects are not in canyon.

Officers contacted employees from the construction company to determine if the items were stolen from a previous burglary incident.

San Diego Unified School District officials said students will still have a full day of school.

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