Silhouetted by bars on the back window of a probation minivan, Jose Zinzun left the Fresno County court headed for the Juvenile Justice Center. The 16-year-old is behind bars with other teens in trouble, but his fate could soon be more connected to older inmates in state prisons.
Zinzun and three other teens are accused of a violent gang initiation last week, culminating in a shooting inside an Edison High School classroom.
"They're going to have gang-related charges," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "There'll be some enhancements because it's tied into gang activity. These are very serious charges."
So serious in fact, Zinzun, Jaime Gonzalez, Nicholas Padilla, and Gilberto Ramos could all face life in prison.
Although only Gonzalez is accused of shooting the Edison teacher and trainer, all four teens are charged as if they pulled the trigger.
"The district attorney has come down very hard on gangs, the police department has, and we have to, I think, treat these pretty seriously and come out with some very serious sentences to show law enforcement isn't going to put up with this kind of activity," Capozzi said.
The Edison High School band was just a building away from the violence, but students were unaware of the trouble until a custodian asked them to lock down. At that point, fear set in.
"We knew it was a lockdown and the only thing I thought was there was a shooter," said junior drummer Blain Haskin. "That's the only reason there would be a lockdown."
The lockdown didn't last long after the teacher wrestled the gun away from his attackers. And the arrests this week pacified a lot of worried parents.
"That puts us at ease that these particular people that did this are now arrested, so that helps us feel better, but just as a whole that somebody had the audacity to do that on our campus is just scary," said parent volunteer Mary Haskin.
School administrators are looking into added security on the Edison campus at night. But the teens who created the concern may never be allowed the freedom to walk anywhere near a school campus again.