Students and staff returning to Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) for the first time since an officer-involved shooting that left a 15-year-old student dead in the campus' parking lot will have access to counseling support, psychologists, social workers and mental health professionals.
"It’s going to be very difficult for all of our students, and anyone in the community who knows what happened," San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) Superintendent Eric Dill said. "This was big news over the weekend and so hopefully everyone’s had some time to prepare for this and that’s why we want to make sure we have all the support necessary for students and our community and our teachers to help handle this."
The shooting happened Saturday morning just before 3:30 a.m. when the teen called 911, asking officers to conduct a welfare check on a minor -- himself -- who was standing at the TPHS parking lot, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Acting Homicide Capt. Mike Holden said.
The student spoke about himself in the third person in what Holden described as a routine, "very general 'check the welfare'" call to police.
The caller stated that the minor who needed to be checked on did not have a weapon, Holden said.
Two officers — a 28-year veteran and a 4-year veteran of the SDPD — headed to the parking lot and found the student standing in the front parking lot of the school.
When officers arrived at the parking lot and got out their patrol car, the teenager allegedly pulled a what appeared to be a gun from his waistband and pointed it at the officers. The officers fired their weapons at the teen, fatally striking him several times. The student was rushed to a local hospital where he died a short time later.
A "semi-automatic BB air pistol" was recovered by police at the scene, Holden said.
The SDPD will not identify the student due to his age.
Dill said the SDUHSD will do everything possible to maintain their daily routine while supporting faculty, students, and parents during this event.
"Well we’re going to try and stay on track as much as we can, but obviously recognizing that we have a lot of students that are going to need to process this with teachers, so teachers are going to be told that they need to be prepared to adjust their plans today in order to handle the situation," Dill said.
He encouraged any students or parents who needed help processing the situation to reach out to the school or get in touch with their own support networks.
"If any students are struggling at all, we have lots of caring adults at all of our schools who can be spoken with and they’ll get the help that our kids need," Dill said.
Dill said it was difficult to lose a student in any circumstances, but especially so in this case.
"We’re going to get through all of this together," Dill said. "We’ve got a great team of administrators and teachers and a caring community that supports this school and this school district so we’re going to get through this the best we can."
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can reach out to the SDPD's Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.