Siblings recount harrowing tale of hiding during Skyline High shooting

Two siblings who sought shelter in closets when gunfire erupted at Skyline High School in the Oakland hills said they are grateful to staff who helped protect them.

"I heard the shots, and I didn't think it was shots. I thought it was a skateboard, and then I saw people running," recalled 14-year-old Sidney Mates-Muchin on Wednesday.

The shooting occurred around 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday.

The freshman made a beeline to the closest safe spot — a custodial closet.

"He (custodian) let me in. He then closed the door and asked me what happened," Sidney said.

Oakland police made two arrests in connection with the shooting, and fortunately, there were no injuries.

The custodian, known to students as Mr. Lee, acted swiftly, just weeks after a staff active-shooter drill.

Sidney's 17-year-old sister, Josie Mates-Muchin, a senior, took refuge in the closet of a French classroom. She quickly called her brother to make sure he was safe.

"The janitor had opened the closet for him, and my little brother had went in, and he locked the closet behind him," Josie said.

The siblings were stuck inside their respective closets for over two hours, but emerged safe and sound.

Their father, Skyline PTSA president JT Mates-Muchin, is grateful. He stood outside the school's gates on Wednesday. While there were no classes for students due to the shooting, he held a sign thanking teachers and staff who did report to campus.

"They did the best they could to get kids out, and I think the protocols were really good," he said.

Josie added, "Mr. Lee, I think he was doing kind of what he was trained to do. I mean, only meeting him a couple of times, I think he's just an all-around amazing person."

The shooting has prompted some parents to call for the installation of metal detectors on campus. However, the PTSA president has reservations.

"I don't know, I think that we have to have a little more faith in parents and kids that are gonna do the right thing," he said.

His daughter Josie remarked, "I still personally think Skyline is a safe campus, and I'm glad that I'm going to Skyline and have been going to Skyline."

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and