Person holding a hand gun.

Three Arrested After Target Practice Hits Nearby School Buildings

Police arrested three men after their target practice led to bullet holes at nearby middle and high school buildings in Ceres, California.

On Thursday afternoon, an administrative assistant at Walt Hanline Middle School was working in the office when she heard gunshots, reports the Modesto Bee. She took cover as “pieces of ceiling tile fell on her,” Ceres Police Sgt. Greg Yotsuya told the local newspaper. A coach at Central Valley High School was inside the gym getting ready for practice when two bullets hit a wall.

Police later found bullet holes and 10 spent rounds at the Central Valley High campus.

According to Jay Simmonds, assistant superintendent for student support services for the Ceres Unified School District, the schools border orchards, fields, and a police rifle range, so they are accustomed to hearing gunfire.  

Officers confiscated six handguns and rifles, including a gold-plated AK-47 from Juan Garibay-Acevedo, Max Perez-Mendez, and Samuel Perez-Mendez. The men said they were shooting into the dirt, but with the schools nearby, Yotsuya called their actions “reckless.”

The schools were closed due to COVID-19 so no students were present at the time of the shootings. However, high school students were beginning to arrive for sports practice at the gym.

The three men were arrested and booked for shooting at an inhabited dwelling, negligent discharge of a firearm, child endangerment and possession of an illegal assault weapon.

The police department had to report the incident — regardless of intent — to the Department of Justice as a school shooting.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. She can be reached at

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