Students bolt from stadium after rumor spreads


Rumors of an active shooter on Diamond Bar High School’s campus caused an abrupt evacuation from the stadium at the end of the Branding Iron game Friday. The scoreboard counted less than a minute until the closing buzzer when streams of purple began pouring collectively out of the stadium.

Despite speculation that administration was already quietly screening a potential threat—according to several students who spotted DBHS staff interacting with law enforcement minutes before the chaos—Principal Reuben Jones told The Bull’s Eye that faculty was not aware of any menace until about one minute before the end of the game. This parallels the time students began to scatter from the bleachers.

The mass panic erupted when a DBHS student shared posts on his Instagram and Snapchat stories during the fourth quarter of the game, warning viewers to leave if they were at school because he had heard that a shooter was on campus. According to the freshman, he took action after a friendwho had received a warning from his mother to get off campusinformed him and his friends of the possible threat.

“We were skeptical at first but we started to observe the security as well as the GLCs and other staff start to panic. I asked one of the women… who was talking to a police officer if they knew about it and she said yes, and walked off rapidly,” the student said via Instagram.

He took the posts down after his direct messages were flooded with backlash about the false alarm, as he was the first to take the message to social media. Once online, those who saw the posts were able to catalyze the spread of information, allowing fear to branch out across the stadium.

“I’m just shocked anyone would say that I made it up. I also don’t think people realize that someone has to be the first to post about it,” he said.

Seconds before the Walnut win, spectators saw the Diamond Bar football team sprint off the field and toward the hill leading down from campus. They fled to the H-Mart plaza, where many received rides home from strangers.

“There were like 50 seconds left [of the game], and the crowd started leaving and we thought they were leaving because the game was over,”  Brahma football senior JJ Godwin said. “And a lot of the players were getting upset because of that, and then the coaches told us to run and… jump over the fence.”

Hopping the fence worsened his already injured ankle, and a visit to the hospital confirmed a torn ligament. Godwin said he will be out of football for two weeks.

Senior Kelly Chan was twirling her flag on the track with color guard when the bleachers began emptying. After her coach called out for the team to grab their belongings, she ran up the stairs to find a missed call from an acquaintance warning her to leave.

“[People] pushed down the fences and all of us started running like a loose herd of sheep,” Chan said. “I went up the stairs near the math building and I got so tired and I could feel my flag slowing me down so I literally chucked it into the plants between the 500 and 600 building and ran to the front of the school.”

As the crowd made their way out of the stadium, marching band remained in the bleachers, standing ready to perform at any moment.

“It’s a marching band standard for us to behave professionally in our uniform no matter the circumstance… until [senior] Ryan Li along with Mr. A [Acciani] started furiously yelling at everyone to get down and cover our heads,” senior Jason Xie said. “Some people in the band were crying their eyes out, clutching their parents who had come to watch the game with them.”

According to Xie, the only motive that curbed his urge to follow the flight was his uniform and the disciplined composure it stood for.

“Mr. Acciani… went so far as to stand on top of the bleachers with a lighted wreath that someone had given to him and yell, ‘If anyone is going to get shot, it’s going to be me,’” Xie said.

As parents learned of the news, heavy traffic inundated the streets surrounding campus. While many students left in their vehicles, those without immediate transportation were met with hospitality from strangers and neighboring homes.

“I found a random girl and luckily she let us into her car and she drove me and my two friends to her house,” junior Tori Kwon said.

In the aftermath of the frenzy, Brahmas are circulating a petition demanding new implementation of mass evacuation procedures and active shooter drills. According to a statement from Walnut Valley Unified School District superintendent Robert Taylor, the district plans to execute “Run, Hide, Fight” drills in the future as well as install security cameras throughout campus.   

It will also place focus on a more thorough visitor vetting process along with upgraded communication technology, including phones with direct lines to 911. As the investigation is still ongoing, Jones asked that any student with information regarding the incident report it to their GLC.


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Panic at Branding Iron