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June 28, 2022

Updated: LULAC youths recall lockdown after DC shooting

County members of a youth Latino group were inside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for a youth seminar when police killed a woman nearby after the chase starting at the White House.
Local members from the League of United Latin American Citizens last week had been in the nation’s capital for an annual youth leadership seminar. Most of them – including five youths from San Benito County – were in the U.S. Capitol Building’s lower floor for a luncheon when the Thursday afternoon incident occurred, said Mickie Solorio Luna, vice president of LULAC’s far west region and a Hollister resident.   
At the time, Luna and some others had left the luncheon early to head back to the hotel and were walking near the Hart Building when they were alerted to the shooting death of the woman involved with authorities in the nationally publicized chase.
“It was kind of scary,” Luna said. “We were rushed to the side and stood against the wall.”
Luna was particularly startled when she saw one of the Capitol police officers with a rifle.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh – what’s going to happen?’”
Afterward, they went to reconnect with the students, who ran up to them when they saw them, Luna said.
Those youth leaders and others returned to Hollister last weekend. Some of those students interviewed with the Free Lance and recalled the lockdown that occurred. They had been eating lunch and waiting for a speaker at the time, said Adriana Alfaro, 17, a senior at San Benito High School, who represents the region on the national youth board.
“Just out of nowhere they say, ‘We’re just going to stay in this room – we’re not going to leave because something is happening outside,’” said Alfaro, who remembered initially thinking it was a drill due to all the drills at the high school.
Nancy Cortez is a 16-year-old junior from San Benito High who was in the room as well. 
“They just told us they were having security issues and to just stay inside,” Cortez said.
Alfaro said the youths initially were unaware of what occurred nearby outside, but that she soon realized what happened by seeing a news story while looking on her phone.
Saul Robles, a 16-year-old junior from the high school, recalled seeing someone pass someone else a note. He said the recipient reacted with a serious face.
In the meantime, the event organizers after the incident had the youth participants going around saying their names and telling others about their hometowns, they said.

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