Two knives and blood found at Kawana Elementary School tell of a fight that moved across the school campus, ending with the death of one young man.
Sunday night, detectives remained at the south Santa Rosa elementary school, finishing up their analysis of the fight scene.
Juan Carlos Angel-Esparza, 20, died from at least three stab wounds to his chest, Sgt. Steve Fraga said.
No one was arrested Sunday night in what was the first homicide of the new year. But the blood was cleaned up and the yellow police tape was due to be gone by Monday morning.
That's when the school will be home again to hundreds of K-6 students — many of whom already know something bad happened there over the weekend.
The death of the young man and the connection to the school were two terrible blows, said Martha Menth, a 23-year Kawana teacher.
"Why at our school .<TH>.<TH>. where little kids come by every day?" said Menth, who teaches a fifth- and sixth-grade class. "I feel terrible."
"It upsets me. That young man had a future," said Diane Rubino, the school librarian, who also lives in the neighborhood. "Right on our campus .<TH>.<TH>."
As word of the violence reached school officials and teachers Sunday, plans were made for Monday morning.
Multiple counselors were asked to come to school, and teachers prepared for classroom talks to help students deal with any fear, grief or questions, said Menth.
Maria Arevalos, a mother of young students at the school, said her children were scared about going to class Monday.
"They're afraid because it's at the school," she said.
She said she knew they should go. "I just told them sometimes bad things happen to good people and for them not to be afraid but to be careful," Arevalos said.
Sgt. Fraga wouldn't say whether the violence involved gang members, calling it too soon in the investigation. But he said the Moraga Drive school and surrounding South Park community have been the scene recently of increasing gang activity.
"It's definitely a disputed gang area. There is a lot of fresh and continuing tagging going on in this quarter .<TH>.<TH>. gangs tagging this area, crossing out other gang tags," Fraga said.
"How this thing unfolded and its relationship to this ongoing struggle" remained unclear, he said.
A $2,500 reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible, he said.
Officers were called to the school just after 5 p.m. Saturday about a possible shooting. They found the young man unresponsive from his wounds, later determined to be stab wounds.
The young man died shortly after being found, which was a short walk from where he lived in a nearby apartment with other family members.
The violence led to a flurry of activity in the older subdivision neighborhood, including police and ambulance response, a gathering of distraught relatives and knots of concerned neighbors brought outside by the loud wail of sirens.
The investigation lasted much of the night and again on Sunday well into the night.
At the school, officers found two knives. Fraga declined to describe them and said whether one was the murder weapon was yet to be determined.
An initial report indicated police were interviewing children who may have found the man or been witnesses. But Fraga said Sunday the two possible witnesses were young teens caught vandalizing a nearby area and weren't believed to be connected to the school crime.