Calif. community on lockdown as killer sought
AP via 7 News WHDH Boston
VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — A region of oak-studded hills in California, where big-city dwellers come to get away from crime, was on lockdown on Monday, two days after a mysterious intruder stabbed an 8-year-old to death at home before being spotted by her 12-year-old brother.
With the suspect still on the loose, some of the kids in this enclave nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills were hunkering down after school at James Barci’s ranch.
“Nobody is staying alone,” said Barci, a truck driver and parent volunteer at Jenny Lind School, where victim Leila Fowler was a popular third-grader. “I told my work I’m not coming in, and I’m just going to have all of my kids’ friends at the house until this is over.”
The apparently random attack has the tightknit community on edge. Parents such as Barci spontaneously showed up Monday at the school of 500 students to give hugs or tie purple and pink ribbons — Leila’s favorite colors — to trees on campus.
In a pastoral place where fat horses swish their tails in knee-high grass and few people had ever bothered to lock their doors, residents now say their guns are loaded and they aren’t afraid to use them.
“My husband wanted me to put one in my car so I’d have it in my hand when I entered the house,” Tabatha Camden said as she dropped off a neighbor’s children at the school. “I drew the line at that. We’ve always had one gun loaded in the house at all times, but now we have four.”