Sketch Released in School Officer's Shooting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LAPD
    Police released a sketch of the man they say shot Los Angeles school police officer Jeff Stenroos.

    Police released a sketch Thursday of the man they say shot Los Angeles school police officer Jeff Stenroos.

    The gunman was described as a white man in his mid-to-late 40s with long grayish hair pulled into a ponytail. He is between 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a thin build, according to police.

    The suspect was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket, possibly a bomber jacket or hooded sweatshirt, and denim jeans, according to police.

    Stenroos, who was shot while confronting a suspected thief, helped authorities create the sketch.

    Despite a manhunt Wednesday night that covered seven square miles of the San Fernando Valley, the gunman eluded authorities.

    At the height of the manhunt, drivers and pedestrians were locked out of the area from Valley Circle Boulevard in the west to Fallbrook Avenue in the east and from Oxnard Street in the north all the way to the 101 Freeway.

    Anyone with information about the case was asked to contact LAPD Detectives Myers or Diaz at 213-486-6850. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).  

    Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477), or by texting to phone number 274637 with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD."

    Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

    Cops Credit Good Samaritan

    Police on Thursday identified the man they say came to the rescue of Stenroos.

    "Shortly after the shooting, a Good Samaritan, Michael Brodey, was driving by the location of the shooting and saw Officer Stenroos on the ground," said police in a statement.

    Brodey, "using his past training as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary," used the police radio in Stenroos's car to put out an "officer needs help" call, say police.

    Brodey tended to Stenroos until first responders arrived.

    The school officer was transported to Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he was treated for a bruised chest and released about eight hours later.

    Doctors credit the officer's bulletproof vest for saving his life.

    The officer, an eight-year veteran of the force, usually works at Cleveland High School, but he was filling in Wednesday at El Camino Real High School.

    "We Feel That Our Students Are Safe and Secure"

    Nine schools that were locked down for hours after a school police officer was shot near a campus reopened Thursday under heavy security, a district official said.

    School district police and city officers patrolled at El Camino Real High School and other campuses in the Woodland Hills area of the west San Fernando Valley. Crisis counselors also were on hand, but normal classes were held.

    "We feel that our students are safe and secure," but the extra security presence may comfort anxious pupils, said Robert Alaniz, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    He did not immediately have figures for school attendance.

    Students Stuck in Classrooms During School Lockdowns

    Some 9,000 students were held in classrooms for hours at area middle, elementary and high schools as police searched for the suspect. Some were finally allowed to leave long after dark Wednesday.

    The lockdown originally included Woodlake, Welby Way, Calabash, Lockhurst, Pomelo and Haynes elementary schools; Hale Middle School; and El Camino Real and Leonis Continuation high schools.

    Three schools in the "hot zone" -- the immediate area near the shooting -- kept students in classrooms for hours without access to food or bathrooms, Alaniz said.

    Students in schools closest to the shooting were kept to classrooms on police orders, Alaniz said. They were unable to be sent food or go into the corridors to reach the cafeteria, and they were not allowed to leave to use the bathroom. Some said they used a trashcan in a closet as a makeshift toilet.

    Alaniz said it was necessary for safety.

    "The last thing we want is for some kid wandering to use the bathroom being taken hostage or being caught in a crossfire," Alaniz said. "You have dogs that are searching, you have SWAT teams with guns."

    Some parents complained, but school officials said they had to defer to police.

    "I'm in charge of the education. I wasn't going to second-guess the police," district Superintendent Ramon Cortines told Fox News Thursday morning at El Camino Real.

    Other schools in the search area were allowed to deliver food to classrooms and have students escorted to the bathroom, Alaniz said.

    Parents were kept blocks away, but some got text messages from their youngsters. The schools also sent out automatic calls or texts to parents informing them of the lockdown, Alaniz said.

    The shooting happened one day after two students were shot Tuesday at Gardena High School, and on the same day someone in a black truck shot a 16-year-old Bell High School student at a popular hamburger stand near the campus.

    City News Service contributed to this report.