El Capitan High School in Lakeside was placed on lockdown Thursday after deputies were called to an area near the school to investigate a possible shooting.
Officials arrived in the 12500-block of Lakeshore Drive at around 1:45 p.m. and discovered an injured man sitting on the ground, leaning against a building on the side of a storage unit near an alley. Medics were called to tend to the man, who was bleeding from the face.
Lt. Glenn Giannantonio with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said the man was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, and the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office determined it was a suicide.
Giannantonio said a witness who called 911 told dispatchers that another man took a gun from the victim's lap, cleared the round from the pistol's chamber and put the gun in his pocket before walking away.
This prompted a manhunt for that second individual and led officials to call for lockdowns of surrounding schools, including El Capitan.
A nearby elementary school was also placed on lockdown as deputies secured the scene and launched their investigation. The high school is located at 10410 Ashwood St. The crime scene was near an apartment complex and laundromat, several blocks away from the school.
A helicopter circled the scene following the incident and on the loudspeaker officials could be heard saying they were “looking for a male between 20 and 30 years old.”
By 5:45 p.m., deputies confirmed they had found the gun believed to be tied to this incident in some bushes near the crime scene.
According to Giannantonio, the man who took the gun later returned to the scene. He told investigators that he picked it up because he didn't want teen boys in the area to get a hold of it, which is why he cleared the round before leaving.
Giannantonio did not know why the man then threw the gun in a bush, saying maybe he realized he got into a situation he shouldn't have.
El Capitan student Markase Carter told NBC 7 that a lot of high school students walk through the alley where the body was found, often using it as a shortcut on their walk from school.
Carter didn’t hear or see what happened, but he said he saw the body on the ground as he was walking home from school.
“There was blood on the ground, and blood on his hand,” he recalled
By 4 p.m., school district officials confirmed the lockdowns on both schools had been lifted.
No other injuries were reported. Also, no shell casings were immediately found at the scene, Giannantonio said.
The name of the man who died has not yet been released. That information is forthcoming from the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office.