A woman who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a parked car at Paloma Valley High School Friday has been identified as Roggena Hunsaker, 59, of the Sun City community of Menifee.
Menifee Police announced Friday that the woman's body was found seated in a red Toyota Corolla parked in the school parking lot, which is also used as a parking lot for the Riverside County Public Library branch located on campus. According to Lt. Charles Wilhite, the gun was found in the vehicle. He said the body was discovered by a relative who had come to the site looking for Hunsaker because of fears she was going to harm herself.
Hunsaker worked as a librarian at the site. At least one student reported that Hunsaker said the day before she had been fired from her position.
According to police and school officials, the shooting appears to have occurred between 7 and 7:30 a.m., shortly before students arrived on campus. It is unclear whether anyone witnessed the shooting or whether students actually saw the crime scene. Students were immediately put on lockdown for about 15 minutes and messages were sent by phone and email to all parents.
The body of the deceased was removed about 11 a.m. and the on-site investigation had concluded. Classes continued for the rest day of the day, although several students went home before the school day ended.
District Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Greenberg said that by the end of first period, students were informed of the reason for the lockdown and it was lifted.
"At the end of first period, it was my decision to inform the students," Greenberg said. "The students had started inventing their own stories based on the lockdown and were using social media to send messages. I felt it was better to get them the facts as soon as possible."
Greenberg said he also appreciated the efforts of the Menifee Police Department to clear the scene as soon as possible.
"We have kids who leave at lunch," he said. "This is their student parking area. The police are in charge and if they needed more hours, I certainly can't make them leave. But they understood our need and they were fairly certain of what happened here.
"This brings up thoughts of suicides and upsets our children. It's a tragedy for the woman and her family, but I also see it as a tragedy for the school. Students learn a lot about life here. Unfortunately, they also learn lessons in life that are painful."
Riverside County Library officials did not return calls seeking comment.