PALMDALE (CBSLA) — One day after officials say a teenager brought a rifle to school and shot a fellow classmate in a Palmdale school, Antelope Valley residents and gun reform advocates joined forces to protest a local congressman.
KCAL9’s Laurie Perez reported from the site of the protest — Congressman Steve Knight’s office.
The group met here because the NRA has given Knight an A rating.
The group plastered his office door and windows with these letters basically saying either work to end gun violence or you won’t work for them any more.
“Steve Knight, good night!” some chanted.
The group’s message was one we’ve heard before after shootings at schools — books not bullets, students before special interests.
Thirty-five hours after shots were fired not from the Congressman’s office — namely Highland High School — students, gun control advocates and parents said they came to Knight’s office “to call him out” for his ties to the NRA.
“We need a change, how much is our lives worth to him” $15,000 from the NRA, that’s it? That’s sad, we just want him to do something, listen to us,” said Diana Zaragoza.
Retired educator Richard Skidmore was listening from the parking lot. On the other side of the issue — in the same community — sharing in at least the search for answers.
“I came out to see what was going on, to make certain the first amendment rights, these people have a right to be here, were taken care of, and it’s the second amendment that enforces or ensures their freedom of speech,” said Skidmore.
He added, “Everybody has a right to be wrong, and they do.”
In the Friday shooting at Highland, a 15-year-old was shot in his arm and shoulder area but is expected to recover fully.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department has not released the name of the suspect — he’s a juvenile — but said he’s a 15-year-old former student. After he fired his gun he called his father to say he fired into the air. The dad then called a family friend, an off-duty LAPD officer, who found the teen at a nearby Vons and detained him.
A military-style rifle was found in a field near the school.
While all that was going on, 11-year-old Scarlett Alvarez’ school was on lockdown. Perez asked how she felt a day later.
“That it might probably happen again but I don’’t want it to and that it’s not good at all,” Alvarez said.
Perez was unable to reach Cong. Knight this evening. Last night he posted on social media saying the shooting Friday underlines that urgency to make schools safer. He mentioned that he has authorized a bill, among other things, that sets aside $50 million in federal funds for strengthening school security.