A gunbattle between occupants in two vehicles early Friday afternoon sent two possible onlookers to the hospital, closed off a major thoroughfare through the heart of Mont Pleasant and resulted in a lockout at seven city schools.
Afterward there was some confusion over when the lockout could be lifted, according to school officials, although they added that students were never imperiled.
After the shootings, police closed off Craig Street, parents were turned away from schools and authorities searched for the occupants of the two vehicles involved in the gunfire.
The two people, both identified as 21-year-old Albany residents, were hit in the torso and taken to Ellis Hospital by private car, police said. The victims were then transported to Albany Medical Center by ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
According to authorities, at least one victim told police he was a bystander caught in a crossfire.
The relationship, if any, between the occupants of the vehicles and the victims is unknown, Sgt. Matt Dearing said Friday afternoon.
“The investigation is still ongoing into that,” he said.
The vehicles involved in the shooting traveled south on Craig Street around 12:15 p.m., over the Interstate 890 bridge and into Mont Pleasant. Police shut down the bridge and area streets, and technicians later combed the area looking for shell casings and marking and photographing potential evidence.
The path of the cars took them near Pleasant Valley School and Mont Pleasant Middle School. Police and school officials placed those schools and five others in the area under lockout. Lockout means no one is allowed in, but the school day goes on as normal.
There was some confusion over when the lockout was officially over.
“Once we determine there was no immediate threat to the school, we contact them and tell them they could terminate the lockout whenever they deem necessary” Dearing said.
Schenectady school officials said they were told at 1 p.m. that the lockout could be lifted at their discretion. But as late as 1:30 p.m., officers manning roadblocks on Craig Street next to those schools were turning parents away.
“There was some miscommunication with police,” district spokeswoman Karen Corona said. “There were police [at Mont Pleasant Middle School] saying it was still in a lockout. They must not have known we got the OK” to lift it.
As late as 1:30 p.m. parents were also being turned away from nearby Pleasant Valley School.
“I got to get out of New York,” one parent said, walking briskly away from Pleasant Valley.
After learning that police were telling parents schools were in lockout, the school district contacted police again at 1:40 p.m. to confirm that there was no danger and that the lockout could be lifted.
Into the afternoon, police fanned out across the area searching for suspects. Dearing said police are not sure how many are involved.
Just before 2 p.m., police raced to 850 Emmett St., where a man was taken into custody for questioning a few minutes later.