A "play fight" at Lincoln High School in San Diego escalated into a brawl that sent a school police officer and several students to the hospital Friday, students told NBC 7.
The fight broke out at the school located at 4777 Imperial Ave. around 12 p.m. – right in the middle of the daily lunch break.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) officials confirmed a total of six people, including the school police officer and five students, were among those transported to hospitals due to the melee. The officer suffered a head injury, officials confirmed, while four of the students were hurt by pepper spray and the fifth was injured by a Taser.
The students were all treated and released, school authorities said.
Officials said the school officer was struck from behind and punched on the back of the head by a student and, as a result, suffered a concussion. He will be kept in the hospital overnight to be monitored, but he is expected to make a full recovery.
Other students also suffered minor injuries, SDFD officials said, but those students were evaluated or treated at the scene or released to their parents.
In all, six ambulances were dispatched to the school and about 20 people were involved in the fight. It is unclear, at this point, what caused the brawl but that is under investigation. No weapons were involved.
Two minors were taken into custody at the school, one for assault on an officer and the other for vandalism.
Multiple students said the situation began when a group started "play fighting" at lunch.
"My daughter got pepper sprayed, all because of play-fighting," said parent Yolanda Lewis. "The teachers took it very serious; the kids were just playing and they ended up being tased."
School police responded to the situation first, and then officials with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and the SDFD were called in to assist. Medics were also called to the scene.
Officials could not confirm how the fight began, but they said at most, six students were actually involved. Between 70 and 100 others were bystanders to the fight.
By 2 p.m., parents were lining up in front of the school, waiting to pick up their kids.
Parent George Luzero said two of his children were hit by the pepper spray.
"They weren't even involved," Luzero said. "The cops keep telling us that maybe they were in the way. I mean, don't they have control over the pepper spray?"
Meanwhile, one person on social media claiming to be a witness said the incident was not a brawl at all, but rather escalated when a school officer used a Taser on a student as the student was backing up. It is one of several witness accounts, but police have not confirmed any.
LHS senior Emmanuel Iheke told NBC 7 he is disappointed that people often associate his school with these types of incidents.
"I would like people to know that this is not Lincoln High School," Iheke said. "That Lincoln High School died about 10 years ago. This is a new Lincoln High School and nobody can see it because we have cameras coming and we have this. They think we're all delinquents, they think we're all violent, they think we're all aggressive. They think that we're not going anywhere, that we'll just go to prison. But that's not the truth."
The LHS administration is planning some sort of assembly to go over the incident with students Monday, allowing them to ask questions in hopes of preventing a similar fight in the future.
This marks the second time since Wednesday that police and medics have been called to the high school.
In an unrelated case Wednesday, a 17-year-old Lincoln Park High School student was struck and injured by a hit-and-run driver.