Two high school assistant principals supposedly opened school doors to permit four masked teenagers with guns to enter the building because the administrators feared for the safety of the suspects, at least three of whom appear to be black, since police had already arrived on the scene.
On September 14, security officers at Garret Morgan High School in Cleveland, Ohio, reportedly spotted four armed teenagers wearing masks approaching the school and immediately contacted 911. While the suspects continued to approach the school, the security officers repeatedly emphasized that the suspects should not be let inside.
"Do not let them, do not let anybody through that door, people," one man said, according to audio from the 911 call.
"Keep the school locked down," the dispatcher instructed.
Another person yelled, "Don't let 'em in the building!" And yet another person seemed to relay that message to others, echoing, "Don't let 'em in the building!"
However, despite these repeated warnings, the young men were, in fact, allowed into the building. According to reports, two school administrators — Christopher Kane and Carolyn Elias, both assistant principals — allowed them in.
"Two assistant principals from leadership let the males into the building," one witness wrote in a statement.
And one of the two APs told police in a statement, "I confirmed the interior doors were locked and instructed the four suspects to come to the vestibule because it was unsafe to be outside because I saw police officers."
According to the Post Millennial, Kane was spotted on security footage standing by the doors where the alleged gunmen supposedly entered. The four were then in a vestibule area, accessible to the outside world but locked from the inside, preventing the suspects from entering the rest of the building.
The school, which serves about 285 students, remained on lockdown during the entire incident. All four suspects are believed to have arrived at the school in a total of three stolen vehicles. Though the suspects attempted to run away, police apprehended three of them. Guns were discovered on two of the suspects. Two of the suspects were sent home on their own recognizance while the investigation continues. One suspect, 16, was taken into custody because he was wanted in an unrelated robbery case.
One suspect managed to flee.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District said that it stands by the administrators who admitted the alleged gunmen into the building.
"As one of the witness statements indicates, the males entered a controlled, secured area that is specifically designed to prevent access to the rest of the building," the district said in a statement. "Cleveland police had already arrived on the scene and were able to make arrests. The staff member made a split-second decision that the individual thought was the best way to keep students and staff safe."
The case is still under investigation. Police body cam footage from the incident can be seen below: