Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Report of armed man puts Davis schools on lockdown

From page A1 | February 22, 2013 |

Hundreds of Davis students went into lockdown mode Thursday morning after Davis High School administrators received reports of a person armed with a gun near the West 14th Street campus.

The weapon in question turned out to be a BB gun, and Davis police ultimately released two teens they had detained in Community Park after determining no crime had taken place, Lt. Glenn Glasgow said.

The lockdown — which affected students at Davis High, North Davis Elementary School, St. James School, King High School and the Davis School for Independent Study, as well as the school district offices — was lifted after about 35 minutes, district spokeswoman Pam Mari said.

“We’re exceedingly proud of the students and the fact that the protocols worked,” Mari said in an interview outside Davis High, where students being released for lunch encountered newspaper and television reporters who had gathered on the edge of campus.

The reports of an armed man initially came in at about 10:25 a.m. from Davis High students who had been unable to find a parking spot near the Veterans’ Memorial Center and parked at the nearby Stephens Branch Library instead, according to Mari.

“They saw a person that they had known from the past” who is a former Davis High student, Mari said. “As they were passing him, he opened his jacket and made a gesture as if he had a weapon. They were alarmed by the gesture and did exactly the right thing.”

The students reported the encounter to Davis High administrators, who immediately called police and initiated the lockdown procedure, Mari said. School officials also alerted other schools in the district “to advise them to be on alert.”

Glasgow said officers responded to the area of Community Park just north of the library, where they found a person matching the former student’s description and detained him, along with a second person. The former student pointed officers in the direction of the BB gun, which had been stashed in some nearby bushes.

“Through the course of the investigation it was determined that the subject had never been on campus,” Glasgow said. Since it is not a crime to possess a BB gun in a city park — and because it was not brandished or used to threaten anyone — both the former student and his companion were released.

The incident remains under investigation, Glasgow added. He did not release the names of the people detained, but said the former student is in his late teens.

The lockdown occurred during fifth-period classes at Davis High, which was on block scheduling Thursday. Students leaving the Davis High campus for lunch said the procedure was handled well.

Senior Mauricio Patino, 17, said he was in his math class when his teacher received an email alert that prompted her to lock the classroom door.

“Everybody just went quiet and went on the floor,” Patino said. “She kept us all in the corner, quiet, lights off, door locked. People were on their phones, trying to entertain themselves.”

Some students said they initially thought the lockdown was a drill, but after receiving updates from their teachers realized something more serious was going on outside their classroom doors.

“Our teacher got pretty scared,” said 15-year-old Chrisyl Jaison, a sophomore who also was in a math class at the time. She said students initially sat near their desks, but after a while the teacher instructed them to huddle together.

“It made us stronger,” said Jaison’s classmate, senior Ramya Immareddy, 16. “It was pretty scary and intense.”

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene



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