More security promised after shooting outside Cesar Chavez High

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by Jared Dillingham

Bio | Email | Follow: @JaredDillingham

azfamily.com

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 10 at 9:56 AM

PHOENIX -- City and school officials promised future safety enhancements to a crowd of concerned parents at Cesar Chavez High School Wednesday night.

The school, near 35th Avenue and Baseline Road, was the scene of a shooting Friday night. While Cesar Chavez played rival high school, Betty H. Fairfax, in a basketball game in the gymnasium, several shots were fired outside.

No one was hit by gunfire, but at least three students were taken to a hospital with injuries sustained during the chaos.

"It's scary," said one mom in the crowd of 200 people. "What can we do to protect our children from anything like this happening again?"

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton sat on stage with Phoenix city council members Michael Nowakowski and Kate Gallego. They promised 15 new school resource officers in their next budget.

No arrests have been made, and Phoenix police are investigating the shooting as gang-related.   While police do not believe those involved are students at Chavez, the gunman was heard yelling a gang name while he fired into the air on campus.

A Phoenix police gang unit lieutenant told the crowd his detectives were working leads "as we speak."

Still, Superintendent Dr. Ken Scribner told the crowd, he does not believe the school has a gang problem.

Scribner also said he wished the media would also report on the school's academic achievements.

Parents, however, steered the conversation back to the shooting.

"It's my understanding that the school was aware of the possibility of something happening," another mother told the panel. "It doesn't seem to me like there were preventative measures put into place."

Several students say they had heard of a potential threat online in the hours before Friday's shooting.

Scribner and Principal Scott Gayman denied any knowledge of a warning, and told parents they would have postponed or canceled the game if they knew of a credible threat.

"You had mentioned you had no notion of what was going to happen, but I heard it was on Twitter," pressed one grandmother.

"For anyone to suggest that the educators and caring professionals at any of our institutions would look the other way, is wholly inaccurate," Dr. Scribner said.

School officials say in addition to using metal detectors before events, they have other new security measures in place. During games and other school events, they are restricting campus access to one gate and requiring students to show school-issued identification.

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