RIPON (CBS13) – A Ripon mother is demanding answers after she says her son’s Junior ROTC sergeant shot him with an airsoft gun. On Tuesday, she said her husband got a call from the Ripon High School principal saying the sergeant is back at work.
“I was dumbfounded that they brought him back,” said Don Hendricks.
Hendricks and his wife Debra found out about the incident back in December. Their 14-year-old son Daniel is a freshman at Ripon High and a member of the Junior ROTC.
“Your son is okay but he was shot!” Debra said, reenacting that phone call. “As they were getting into formation, he shot him! The immediate reaction to me was panic.”
That he is Sgt. Robert Randall, according to the Hendricks family.
Daniel told CBS13 he and his fellow classmates had joked around with nerf guns, but one day Sgt. Randall showed up with an airsoft gun. He described it as black and said it looked like any other handgun, with the exception of a marking on the side.
“He was shooting people with it,” Daniel said.
One of those people was Daniel.
“It just felt like a flick but then we just went on with our day,” he explained.
But Debra said she wasn’t willing to shrug it off as insignificant.
“I, as a mother, don’t appreciate you using my son as a target, even in fun!” she said.
Debra told CBS13 the school didn’t tell her about the incident until days after it happened and still can’t believe the school questioned her son without her present.
“The teacher was asked to leave the school,” she said.
There was an online petition to bring the sergeant back and Don found out Tuesday was that day. He and his wife attempted to file a police report Tuesday afternoon but were told it wasn’t necessary.
“We were denied the records from police!” Don said.
Lt. Danny Sauer told CBS13 Ripon Police Department looked into the airsoft gun incident and quickly determined it wasn’t a criminal matter, so they let the school handle it.
“They never talked to me,” Debra said. “I feel like my voice was never heard.”
And while Daniel still wants to be part of the JROTC class, his parents aren’t sure they want their son in the classroom with a reckless adult.
“They are supposed to be teaching him responsibility but here he is bringing something from home that he should not have!” Debra said.
CBS13 reached out to the district but an administrator said they could not provide any information and would not comment on HR matters.