Fifteen minutes of madness.
That’s how an Anaheim PD sergeant, at a community meeting Monday night, described the aftermath of last week’s fatal shooting of a mother of three who was waiting in her car to pick up her 12-year-old daughter just as school was getting out at Crescent Elementary in Anaheim.
Several children and adults witnessed the shooting at adjacent Peralta Park and shocked area residents of this normally calm area in Anaheim Hills, prompting the APD to hold a community meeting May 16 to inform residents about the status of their investigation and to start the healing, as APD Sgt. Daron Wyatt put it.
Such meetings now are standard for the APD in the wake of a violent event, such as an officer-involved shooting, or the fatal shooting at 2:20 p.m. May 12 of Claudia Garcia, 42.
Garcia’s estranged husband, Humberto Servin, 49, Anaheim, has been charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
After the shooting, Servin is accused of driving to the APD station in Anaheim Hills, where he was contacted by APD officers. Servin allegedly drove to the station to surrender. Servin, who has not lived with his wife since 2008, is scheduled to be arraigned June 3.
One of the estranged couple’s three children, the 12-year-old girl, saw her mother after she was shot. She and her two siblings are in the care of relatives under the supervision of Orange County Child Protective Services, the APD said.
In addition to Anaheim PD officers, Victim Advocate Elia Renteria of the Orange County Family Justice Center attended the meeting and spoke about domestic violence.
Also on hand for attendees to talk to were members of the CSP (Community Service Programs Inc.) Crisis Response Team, APD chaplains and several volunteers from TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) who responded to the shooting to provide emotional first aid to those who witnessed the crime or were affected by the brazen violence and tragic loss of life that happened so close to an elementary school.
TIP volunteers responded the day of the shooting as well as the next day after school. Member of the O.C. Department of Education Crisis Response Network responded the day after the shooting and spent most of the day at school.
Jessica Nettles attended the community meeting with her husband, Brian.
The couple, who have two sons ages 3 ½ and 1 ½, recently moved from west Anaheim to a home located about two miles from the school.
“As a community, it’s good to know that our police are there for us and to include us in this presentation,” Jessica Nettles said during the meeting. “I can’t thank you enough. It makes me feel like I have some control over my sons’ safety, so I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Added Nettles: “Sadly, we live in a society where we have to learn about lockdowns. My son is only 3, but he could have been here.”
Sgt. Bryan Janocha, of the APD’s Community Policing Team for the East District, spoke to the crowd, along with colleagues Homicide Det. Ryan Hunter, the lead investigator on the case, and Sgt. Brennan Leininger, of the APD’s Safe Schools Detail.
Janocha told attendees he lives in Anaheim Hills and has two children in the same school district that includes Crescent Elementary (Orange Unified School Disrict). He said he coaches soccer and that a couple of girls on his team attend Crescent and witnessed the shooting.
Janocha described a “very chaotic” situation in the moments after the shooting, with the police radio buzzing with dispatchers and cops, kids near the murder scene, and an investigation that included two locations.
He and other PD officers praised Crescent Elementary staff members for acting quickly to bring children to safety as the school went on a Level 2 lockdown, which involves closing all exits and entrances and requiring everyone to be behind closed doors in a classroom or office as an officer is dispatched to the school to make contact with administrators (Canyon High School, located halfway between the crime scene and the APD’s East Station, also was put on Level 2 lockdown).
Hunter also lives in the area with two kids in the same school district.
“I understand the shock that can come out of things like this, hitting so close to home,” Hunter said.
Hunter released few details of the ongoing investigation. The APD said there is no history of domestic-violence calls involving either Garcia or Servin.
Wyatt told the crowd the APD tries to get information out to residents as accurately and quickly as possible following such incidents, as well as other information such as temporary road closures caused by police activity. He urged everyone to follow the APD on Facebook and Twitter.
Leininger went over the three levels of school lockdowns with attendees and reminded parents not to rush to their children’s school when such incidents occur. He advised them to call an APD dispatcher on the non-emergency line (714-765-1900) for up-to-date information.
“I know it’s hard as a parent,” Leininger said, “but you’ve really got to fight the urge to just get in your car and haul butt screaming to the school. There’s a lot going on (and) the school staff is well rehearsed in all the procedures and believe me, you’re going to get 50 cops here in a matter of minutes.”
He added: “It’s easier for us to get here without all of the cars on the road … If you just rush to the school it potentially can create more variables in the situation.”
Renteria, of the Orange County Family Justice Center, which is part of the APD, said domestic violence is preventable and there are resources available.
“We are here to help,” Renteria said. “It’s really unfortunate we couldn’t get to this family beforehand.”
Stasia Sebastianelli attended the meeting with Sage, 9, a third-grader at Crescent Elementary, and Ava, 4.
“I felt the police department did a great job the day of the incident and they also did a great job presenting what information they could (at the community meeting),” Sebastianelli said.
She said she wished a school representative would have been available to go into more detail about the protocol of how parents are informed in the event of a school lockdown, as well as other issues (Sage was not at school when the shooting occurred).
After the meeting, Brian Nettles said the shooting was a reminder that no one lives in a bubble.
“This is a pretty close-knit community, and something like this happening here kind of shocked everybody and made them wake up,” Nettles said. “Even though it’s an isolated incident, it’s still something that happened right here.”