Two school assistant principals let a group of armed and masked teens into a Cleveland, Ohio high school to protect the gunmen from the police outside, even though a security officer yelled at them not to open the door, Fox 8 reported.
One witness told police he let the teens enter a lobby area locked off from the rest of the school “because it was unsafe to be outside because I saw police officers.”
Another witness statement said “two assistant principals from leadership” opened the door, according to Fox 8.
Four teens with at least two guns drove to Garrett Morgan High School in three stolen cars on Sept. 14, prompting the school to enter lockdown and a security officer to call 911.
In a statement, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District said “the staff member made a split-second decision that the individual thought was the best way to keep students and staff safe.”
“The males entered a controlled, secured area,” the statement reads. “Cleveland police had already arrived on the scene and were able to make arrests.”
Cleveland-based school security consultant Ken Trump told Fox 8 whoever opened the door made the wrong move.
“You’ve just let them one step closer in,” he said. “The goal is to keep students away from harm. You don’t let the bad guy, especially when you know they’re the bad guy, get closer into your school building.”
In 911 audio, the school security officer can be heard shouting, “Do not let anybody through that door, people.”
Eventually, he tells the dispatcher the teens are inside “the outer part” of the building, and the dispatcher exclaims, “They got in the building?”
A witness quoted by FOX 8 told police he “confirmed the interior doors were locked” before he “instructed the four suspects to come to the vestibule,” fearing the police presence outside.
Police tried to detain the teens outside the vestibule, but they sprinted away in different directions. Three of the four teens were arrested in multiple foot chases recorded on officers’ body cameras.
Two guns were recovered from the arrested teens, according to Fox 8.
Detectives were still following up on why the teens approached the school at the time of Fox 8’s September report.