A security video obtained exclusively by NBC 7 shows a frightening scene – one that many parents were not aware of: a young man with a cache of stolen guns riding his bicycle through a playground full of kids.
The footage was captured on Aug. 31, 2015, as 19-year-old Johnny Martinez zipped through a playground at Oak Hill Elementary School in Escondido as dozens of children and teachers were at recess.
Martinez had a stolen rifle slung around his neck and two more guns in a bag as he rode his bike through the campus.
No one was hurt, but the incident received national attention because the school district waited 14 minutes before calling 911 to report the man on campus.
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NBC 7 showed the surveillance video to some parents for the first time Thursday.
Many were shocked by the footage and outraged after seeing just how close the gun-wielding cyclist came to their children on a playground the once considered safe.
“Oh my gosh. That is amazing; that is unbelievable,” said parent Ramon Pedraza, as he watched the video.
“It’s atrocious,” said parent Yankee Alba. “It makes me feel terrified.”
The 34-second ride was captured on three school security cameras. The first glimpse is in the front parking lot of Oak Hill Elementary School. Camera two then shows Martinez coasting his way through the courtyard in the center of campus.
On camera three, and perhaps the most jaw-dropping angle, Martinez weaves through dozens of children and some teachers on his way to an opening in a fence on the playground.
“[It] kind of gave me goosebumps, seeing that, knowing that my son was here,” said parent Caressa Pedraza. “I was worried – scared for the kids [while watching the video]. He could have grabbed one of them.”
Escondido Union School District Superintendent Luis Ibarra turned down an on-camera interview with NBC 7 for this story. Instead, in a statement, Ibarra identified the changes that have been implemented at Oak Hill Elementary School since the security breech.
Ibarra wrote that the district has made it a clear policy that 911 be called immediately should something like this occur on campus. The school has also reinforced the openings in the playground fence and is working to fast-track a brand-new fence project
The statement said the gates to the campus now remain locked during school hours. The school has added more crisis response training and the district plans to continue “to support students and staff in preparing for emergency situations,” according to the statement.
While parents are pleased with some of those changes, the fear lingers for others. Security is tighter and fences are on the mend, but rebuilding the trust of parents is slower-going.
“If you have an armed security guard there that is able to fight fire with fire in a situation like that, then I would be satisfied,” added Ramon Pedraza.
Martinez, pleaded guilty last week to burglary and possessing guns on school grounds. He was sentenced to four years in prison.