OAKLAND, Calif. — Six people were shot on Wednesday at a campus in Oakland that houses four different school programs, prompting lockdowns and evacuations as the police descended on the scene, the authorities said.
Two of the victims were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries on Wednesday afternoon; the other four were either released or soon to be released from hospitals, said Darren Allison, the assistant chief of the Oakland Police Department. All of the victims were adults who had “some affiliation with the school,” Chief Allison said, though he did not specify their ages or if they were students or workers.
The authorities were searching for one shooter on Wednesday, Chief Allison said, but he noted that there may be “other individuals involved” in the shooting, which began at about 12:45 p.m. He added that the Police Department was still investigating whether the shooting was targeted or random.
Chief Allison said that officers found “victims inside the school,” but he did not specify which one.
The shooting was among more than 130 to occur this year at schools across the nation, including more than 30 that resulted in injuries or deaths, according to a New York Times analysis of databases compiled by Education Week and the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The deadliest was the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which claimed the lives of two adults and 19 children in May.
Oakland has already had a shooting this school year, in August, in which a 13-year-old boy was injured by the accidental discharge of a gun a 12-year-old student brought to campus.
Libby Schaaf, the Oakland mayor, said Wednesday afternoon on Twitter that what occurred on the campus “shocks the soul — our schools are sanctuaries for our children.”
“The unbridled access to firearms in our country is inexcusable,” she added.
The Oakland Police Department asked parents to meet their children at a church close to the school complex. There, dozens of teachers mingled with law enforcement and reporters while waiting to return to campus after being evacuated.
The shooting occurred at the King Estate complex, where four different school programs are. They include the headquarters for Sojourner Truth Independent Study; Bay Area Technology School, a charter program that serves students in grades 6 through 12; Rudsdale Continuation High School; and Rudsdale Newcomer High School.
John Sasaki, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, said at a news conference that “what happened today was wrong. It was very traumatic. It was devastating to our school community.”
He added that counseling would be available for students.
Seth Feldman, the executive director at Bay Area Technology School, said of his teachers, “I cannot believe how quickly our folks jumped into action.”
In an interview, Mr. Feldman said the shooting occurred just minutes before school let out for the day, when the hallways would have been flooded with students. “Five minutes later,” he said, “and this would have been tragic.”
He added that the charter school’s campus security officer had been shot in the leg, and that one of his administrators, Ryan Hughes, had pressed on a student’s wound to try to stem the bleeding.
“He pressed,” Mr. Feldman said. “He put his hands on him to make sure that he could be OK.”
Matthew Benjamin, a high school teacher at Bay Area Technology School, said he was walking down a hallway when he heard what sounded like gunshots, one after another, right around the corner.
“It was a blur,” Mr. Benjamin said. “I just instinctively turned around. I jumped back into the classroom; I told everyone get down. Kids were starting to flip out, and I grabbed hold of the door.”
He said he yelled at students to “get down.” Mr. Benjamin’s class locked the windows and hunkered down for about an hour.
“You’re scared for the kids,” he said.
Across the hallway, Sherman Moore, a science teacher, heard what he thought were fireworks. But he told his students to stay quiet, just in case.
Then a voice came on the intercom that the school was being locked down.
The students pushed tables and chairs up against the doors and waited, hoping for the best. About an hour later, police officers knocked on the door and evacuated everyone.
“Once we started walking up the hallway, I knew it was really serious, because they had us do this,” Mr. Moore said, putting his hands above his head.
At about 4 p.m., teachers were allowed to return to their campus and collect their belongings and cars. There were hugs and tears as they reunited and swapped stories of evacuating.
Shawn Hubler contributed reporting.