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7 Held After Shots Are Fired at High School

March 19, 1992

SANTA MONICA — Suspected gang members opened fire on a group of Santa Monica High School students as they walked off campus Monday afternoon, but no one was injured, police said.

A gunman fired at least five shots from a .38-caliber revolver in the direction of the school gate at 7th Street and Michigan Avenue, said Santa Monica Police Lt. Robert Thomas.

The incident took place shortly before school let out for the day. "If it had been 10 minutes later," Thomas said, "there would have been a big surge of people coming out of there."

There were only about 20 students near the gate when the shots were fired. Some students began screaming; others ran for cover. At least one parent, waiting to pick up her child, ducked down inside her car until the shooting stopped.

A few minutes later, police arrested seven suspects and booked them for attempted murder, Thomas said.

Witnesses told police the shooting started after the suspects' car pulled up to the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard, one block from the school gate. Six men got out of the car and stationed themselves in pairs nearby. The driver, a woman, stayed in the car.

One of the men opened fire, then they all got back in the car and circled the campus. A patrol car spotted them heading toward the freeway through heavy traffic, Thomas said.

Arrested were Ruben Cisneros, 20, and Susan Cabrera, 21, of North Hollywood; Mario Bolanos and Jose Cuevas, both 18, of Los Angeles; Jose Puepla, 18, of Hollywood; Jose Hercules, 20, of Panorama City, and a 17-year-old from North Hollywood.

Police believe the suspects belong to a North Hollywood gang whose members are from El Salvador. They are investigating whether the suspects were involved in other recent gang-related incidents, including a non-fatal stabbing at the pier Sunday.

Principal Nardy Samuels said it was Santa Monica High School's first shooting incident.

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