After exiting the Super Taco restaurant in Woodlake, a young male drew a handgun and fired five shots in the direction of an eastbound van that was stopped at the intersection of Naranjo and Valencia. Apparently, no one was wounded in the incident that occurred at 3:20 p.m. on Monday, September 28.
The van sped away from the scene. The shooter also vanished. Witnesses at the scene reported the man was not known at Super Taco and had exchanged words with the van’s occupants before the shooting.
Parked behind the van waiting in traffic was a Woodlake High School bus that was transporting students to Three Rivers.
The driver of the bus immediately ordered everyone to get down on the floor and away from the windows. After the van drove off, the bus proceeded through the intersection and parked in the lot at Bravo Lake Botanical Gardens.
Woodlake police officers soon arrived to interview the driver and students to learn what happened and gather leads to help find the shooter.
“We’ve identified the shooter and are attempting to locate the suspect,” said Mike Marquez, Woodlake’s police chief. “In no way were any students involved nor were they the intended target.”
Chief Marquez said the suspect is not a local resident. The investigation, Marquez said, is being hampered by the unwillingness of the victim to cooperate.
“We called all the parents and invited them to come in and talk about the incident,” said Drew Sorensen, superintendent of the Woodlake Unified School District. “Fighting used to be with fists or maybe someone would have a knife. Today, people on the streets are carrying guns.”
Sorensen said counselors were available the next day for any students who wanted to talk about the incident.
“In my two decades of experience as a principal and then a superintendent with the Woodlake School District I can never recall any shooting incident related to school,” Sorensen said.