A Filipino American football coach from Vallejo High School was shot while breaking up a fight among students in front of the school grounds.
According to Times Herald, the victim, Joseph Pastrana, was wounded on Sept. 13 by an unidentified suspect who fled in a black, four-door Audi. The incident occurred approximately around 3:40 p.m.
In a statement to Newsweek, Vallejo High athletic director Josh Ramos said that the suspect is not a student of the school.
Police reports indicated that Pastrana was struck by at least one bullet in the upper hip and suffered a non-life-threatening injury. He was immediately taken to a local hospital and has now been released, continuing his recovery at home.
Pastrana’s wife and four-year-old son witnessed the unfortunate incident. Speaking with Times Herald, Pastrana’s sister, Jocilee, said that the mental and emotional anguish took a toll on the whole family.
“It’s very traumatic for us as we know we could have lost a brother. His son and wife were there to see it and it’s traumatizing for them. His son wanted to know why his dad was laying on the ground. The whole time all Joe could say was to get Joey (his son) out of there. Keep him safe.”
Police and school officials alike praised Pastrana, commending him for his bravery and commitment to his duties as a school employee.
“This is a very courageous staff member that potentially saved another child’s life or multiple people’s lives,” Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams said, according to Times Herald.
District Superintendent William Spalding added, “Our hearts go out to our injured colleague, our site-safety person (Pastrana). Indications are that he will be on the mend and we are very grateful about that.”
In a statement to Times Herald, Vallejo City Unified School District Public Information Officer Celina Baguiao said that they will provide counseling and other resources to staff and students who will need it.
“We will continue to have counselors available to our staff and students because we all process events differently,” Baguiao said. “Other than the extra site safety officers, administrators, and counselors, on campus and additional patrolling by VPD, we haven’t done anything differently,” she said. “We continue to check in with our colleagues and students and provide space for those who need it,” she added.
At a press conference last Tuesday, Williams said there are videos of the incident online. Times Herald reported that Williams did not confirm or deny whether police will reveal the plate number of the suspect’s vehicle.
During his speech, Williams said that incidents occurring in or near schools are a tragedy because they should be a safe place for children.
“This is a senseless act of violence committed by some individuals who do not value human life,” Williams said, per Times Herald.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Vallejo Police Department Detective Division at 707-648-4524.
In order to help with Pastrana’s medical and legal expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up, which can be found here.
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