Senior Raheem Payton was oblivious to the students crowding around him, sitting on a bench in the middle of the quad, deep in thought about the consequences of moving his knight forward. His opponent in this chess game, security guard Adisa Banjoko, waited patiently for him to meditate on making his move. Suddenly, the silence was broken as the front doors of the school burst open.
“They got guns!” A student screamed, as four males brandishing handguns rushed through the lobby, their voices barking orders at the students to move out of the way.
Banjoko quickly moved into action, covering another security guard, Juan Gallardo, who was standing in front of the student the intruders were after. Payton sat frozen at the table, watching the scene unfold.
The intruders, including a 13-year-old suspected gang member, engaged in a verbal dispute with the guards before noticing security cameras and abandoning their pursuit of a rival gang member. Payton held his breath those minutes before they ran from the building.“All I could think was what is going on here,” he recalls, “It happened so fast, the way they ran in ready to fight.”