Students at Big Bear HS Were in “Panic Mode” During Search for Man Believed to be Dorner

Big Bear High School was locked down Tuesday afternoon, while authorities engaged in a firefight with a man believed to be a fugitive and former LAPD officer.

Some 800 students at Big Bear High School spent the day on lockdown as authorities engaged in a gunfight with a man believed to be a fired LAPD officer suspected of a revenge-motivated shooting spree that targeted law enforcement officers and their families.

"The principal announced, 'We're under lockdown.This is not a drill,’" recalled student John Castiglioni. "My teacher told everybody to get down on floor, turn the lights off, lock the door. It was just like straight up panic mode."

The students hunkered down and watched the events unfold on the Internet.

"It was shocking. I thought he was gone, out of Big Bear, and then once he came over intercom it was just like, wow, this is surprising," said student Tyler Babbitt.

Worried parents fought the urge to get in their cars and pick up their children.

"I understand protocol and not race to go get your kid, but very scary," said parent Tracy Castiglioni.

A group of teens from a private school in Pomona was in Big Bear on an overnight trip Tuesday. They hid out in their cabin while a man believed to be Dorner battled it out with authorities.

"There's no TV reception at the cabin we're at, so the only way we knew was people kept calling us, worried about their children," said principal Kimbery Gunderson.

None of the students were injured.

Officials tell NBC4 that all schools in the Bear Valley Unified School District are scheduled to be open on Wednesday.

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