On Wednesday, August 19, at approximately 1:30 p.m. (a regularly scheduled minimum day at Oneonta Elementary School), firecrackers lit at a home across the street caused a commotion as hundreds of students were leaving school.
A safety-patrol fifth-grader observed a male in his late teens throw something onto the lawn, followed by three or four loud pops and then a series of quick crackling pops. Minutes later, another series of loud pops came from the home’s backyard, a cloud of smoke floated over the fence, and the smell of gunpowder filled the air.
A teacher waiting with her students said the noise “Made me stop in my tracks, but I knew it wasn’t loud enough to be gunshots.” The night custodian arriving for work half-jokingly said, “I was ready to dive under a table.” A nine-year-old boy waiting for his mother said, "It sounded like shooting or like the three-for-a-dollar ‘snap caps’ I buy at the swap meet.”
After the campus cleared of students, a parent volunteer asked a young man leaving the home about the firecrackers. He repeatedly said, “It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me!” He then got into a car and drove away.
The school’s principal talked to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department but felt it wasn’t going to be a priority call. The principal was called later and told that further information would be needed to follow-up.
The parent volunteer who knew the young man’s parents described the incident to the man’s father, who sighed. “We clean out his room once in awhile and have found some M80s and firecrackers, and obviously we didn’t get them all. We’ll wait until the little fuck gets home and I’ll talk to him, as will his mother.”