A fight between two men waiting to pick up kids outside Highland High School ended in a shooting Wednesday, leaving one man wounded and sending the school into lockdown.
It happened around 2:30 p.m., right around the time classes were being dismissed for the day.
Albuquerque Police originally says two men got into a fistfight outside the school along Jefferson Street, which runs along the west side of the school’s main entryway.
Originally, APD reported that the men were an ex-husband and current boyfriend, however, the police report states that one of the men involved “didn’t know” the other man. APD is still investigating if or how the men knew each other.
“They decide to take it upon themselves to get into a fistfight that escalated into a gunfight, here in front of the high school,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik.
Dozens of students, staff and parents were outside the school, many of whom witnessed the fight.
One witness even recorded the fight on cell phone video. It shows a man grabbing a bat from his trunk, then walking toward a man with the bat. Within about 15 seconds, witness video shows the man with the bat swinging toward the ground at another person.
“At some point, one of them pulled out a gun and shot the other one,” said Drobik.
Two gunshots can be heard in the witness video along with screams from other nearby witnesses.
The man who was carrying the bat appeared to have been shot. A police report states the victim was shot in the hand and the thigh. APD also said the man had minor, superficial wounds.
The gunshots sent a panic through the campus, where students like Raquel Morales were leaving for the day as the school called a lockdown.
“I just ran to the closest classroom I could find,” said Raquel Morales, a senior at Highland High.
Morales didn’t witness the shooting and was able to make it back inside the school safely.
“I was actually really scared, because my friend had texted me saying that there was gunshots and I was like, ‘oh my God,'” said Morales. “I was just really scared because when you hear of a gun you like.. just assume the worst.”
Not every student was able to make it back inside the school though. Parent Elizabeth Brooks says one of her two 15-year old daughters couldn’t go back in the school during lockdown. She was upset when she learned of what happened, saying her daughter was left vulnerable when many thought a potential gunman was on the loose.
“You know, I can’t protect them at school, that’s their job, not mine,” said Brooks. “When they’re at home, they’re my responsibility, at school, they’re their’s.”
The school responded to Brooks’ complaint, saying it had to act quickly to secure the doors and students inside. The school’s principal also offered to look further into the incident.
Another parent, Brett Clay rushed to the school campus after hearing reports of the shooting. His wife was picking up their daughter when she heard the shots.
“When you kids are in school and all the other active shooter things going on around here, it hits pretty close to home,” said Clay.
Clay eventually reunited with his family and everyone was OK.
“Fear would be the first thing I’d think of and the second thing now is relief, that it was quick it was over, police got on it quick and everything is going to be OK,” said Clay.
Albuquerque Police say Highland High School’s surveillance camera captured some of the fight between the men.
Police say they’ve spoken to both men involved, but so far no one appears to have been charged in the case which is being investigated as an aggravated battery.