“I was scared for my life”: Students detail school lockdown after threat at Cosumnes River College closes campus

SACRAMENTO — Jordyn Tagatec was walking to a counseling appointment on Monday when something caught her eye.

“All of a sudden, I see one police driving through campus,” the soon-to-be Sacramento State transfer says. 

In another room, Carlos Arroyo was drawing when his phone lit up. 

“I heard about it before everything was spread out,” Arroyo recalls. “My friends said they heard from someone that something was going down. And then I tell my stats teacher.”

Shortly after Arroyo alerted his teacher, a text message went out to students all over campus. A lockdown was in effect after a student issued a threat of violence toward the community. Within minutes, police cruisers from a variety of departments arrived to begin a building search.

Students started to act. 

“We kind of just barricaded the doors and barricaded the windows,” said Catherine Rodriguez. 

“I was scared for my life due to the fact that I was praying to God that everyone was safe,” Tagatec continued.

Other students started thinking about the strategy of what to do should the worst happen. 

“I was looking for all the exits. I was planning everything. I know that sounds really sad but it’s the reality,” Jennifer Dao explained. “I was holding my hydro flask this is my only weapon.”

Arroyo was texting with friends on campus and started to see images on social media of student response to the lockdown.

“Someone sent me a picture of the cafeteria and they were boarding it up with desks. Like desks in the window and that’s when I was like it’s serious,” Arroyo said.

After the lockdown lifted, students walked out with a sense of relief. But that relief was tempered with a resignation that this Monday was something expected. That years of lockdown drills and violence in public places have prepared students to treat a campus threat as inevitable.

“It seemed instinctive for them to do that,” Arroyo said of the cafeteria barricade. I don’t think there were any teachers there.”

Campus spokesman Gabe Ross said that a sweep of the area was completed.

“We couldn’t find any evidence of a threat being a valid threat, meaning there wasn’t any imminent threat to campus, but we take these things very seriously,” Ross said. “We don’t mess around when it comes to a potential threat to our campus community.”

Generally, the students felt that Cosumnes River College handled the situation well through their text message system.

“I think they did handle it pretty well,” Rodriguez explained. “They gave us notifications and then they told us when it was all clear and they kept us updated throughout with texts.”

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