Oct. 17--Two men suspected in a shooting on the Fresno City College campus on Monday morning allegedly held up two Central High School students at gunpoint later in the day.
Fresno police caught the two men Monday night, but the link wasn't revealed until Wednesday afternoon by the City College campus police chief during a meeting to discuss problems in the college's emergency alert system.
No one was hurt in either incident Monday.
About 100 staff and students showed up at Wednesday's meeting to discuss the alert system problems, which Bruce Hartman, chief of the State Center Community College District Police Department, openly acknowledged. They cheered when he told them about the arrests.
The college's texting and email systems did not trigger early warnings, and the college is working to correct it, he said.
Lawrence Edward Darrough, 18, and Darnell Thomas, 19, were identified as the men suspected in the crimes. They were arrested Monday night by Fresno police soon after the robbery near Central High.
Hartman said it wasn't until Tuesday that they were identified as suspects in the Fresno City College shooting case.
A student who attended the forum said he was worried because students and staff didn't know where the suspects were and many didn't know a shooting had occurred.
Vernon Lacy Jr. also criticized Hartman for not locking down the campus shortly after the shooting at 11:11 a.m. on Monday. Damage was reported at the campus greenhouse, which was struck three times, and a car was hit by two rounds. One of the rounds that went into the greenhouse also struck a stop sign, Hartman said.
He said the suspects entered the campus from McKinley Avenue and were involved in an argument in the college parking lot with two unidentified men who have not come forward. All ran from the campus after the shots were fired, Hartman said.
The Central High robbery took place shortly after 3 p.m. as two students were waiting for a ride from the school campus near Cornelia and Dakota avenues west of Highway 99.
Thomas and Darrough were arrested Monday night near Shaw and Brawley avenues in northwest Fresno by Fresno police officers aided by several citizens, said Fresno police Sgt. Steve Crawford.
Along with the victims' property, police recovered a .38 caliber revolver, a .9-millimeter pistol and marijuana. The guns had rounds that matched those fired at Fresno City College, Hartman said.
Darrough and Thomas have no connection to the college, he said.
Hartman said he elected not to call for a lockdown because college staff witnessed the incident and reported that the men were off campus.
"There was no immediate threat inside the campus, so we didn't want to activate the active shooter (alert)," he said. "I didn't want to put something out that would panic everybody; it's kind of like screaming fire in a movie theater."
Fresno High School and other nearby schools, including Heaton Elementary School, which is just south of the college, were locked down.
The first emails were sent to Fresno City College students and staff 53 minutes after the shooting and text messages went out about 90 minutes after the shooting.
Hartman said some people reported they didn't receive a message until after 11 p.m. Monday night.
Hartman said the school is working to correct the alert system. He said the plan is to use two-way radios to relay information to the school's public information staff so they can send out timely messages for students and staff.
Wednesday's meeting was held to allow students and staff to question school officials about the system's problems.
"We understand exactly where everyone is coming from, and we understand their frustration," said Fresno City College spokeswoman Kathleen Bonilla. "We are not trying to hide anything."