Nov 19, 2013 8:44 PM by Samantha Ptashkin

At least 10 Tucson schools placed on lockdown since August

TUCSON- Across the country and in Tucson school lockdowns are becoming more frequent and the trend has many parents concerned.

The latest incident happened Tuesday morning at Cholla High School. Tucson Police say a teacher and a student noticed a male student with a metal object. They thought the metal object looked like a weapon, so they called police.

The male student got away before Police could question him. TPD put the school on lockdown for more than two hours as officers searched the campus and surrounding area. They didn't end up finding the student, but they now know his identity and they're trying to locate him to determine whether or not the metal object was a weapon.

As the lockdown was going on, Cholla H.S. parents gathered at the nearby Fred Archer Neighborhood Center to learn the latest information. "It's beyond scary," Grandparent Kimberly Rusch says. "You can't put into words how scary it is."

The good news is that nobody was hurt in Tuesday's incident. It was the same in three other recent school lockdowns.

On October 4, TPD responded to Sunnyside H.S. after two students reported seeing another student with a weapon. The student was located and questioned by detectives, who never found a weapon.

On October 23, Santa Rita H.S. was placed on lockdown after there was a report of a teen with a gun walking toward the school. TPD never found a suspicious person or weapons.

The next day, October 24, Santa Rita H.S. was placed on lockdown again after a call came in about a man seen around campus with three guns. The call turned out to be a hoax, coming from a student's cell phone. Police arrested the 14-year-old for false reporting of an emergency, disorderly conduct and interfering with or disrupting an educational institution.

On November 8, a bomb threat written on a bathroom wall at Amphi Middle School sent three Amphitheater School District campuses into lockdown. TPD did not find anything dangerous.

Sgt. Widmer says TPD has to take each threat seriously. "They're just reporting what they think they saw, so we're going to investigate that the same every time," Sgt. Widmer says.

Parents are grateful, but they're still wondering what can be done to stop so many lockdowns. "I mean if you put in metal detectors these kids think they're in prison," Rusch says. "I don't know what the answer is."

Here is a complete list of weapons related incidents at Tucson-area schools since August 2013:

August 9: Hedricks Elementary School is placed on lockdown because of a nearby home invasion.

August 12: A Pueblo H.S. student accidentally fires off a gun inside the school. The school was not put on lockdown since the situation was contained almost immediately.

August 19: Tully Elementary is placed on lockdown as officers take down a burglary ring in a neighborhood near the school.

September 12: Amphi H.S. is placed on lockdown because of a domestic dispute in a nearby apartment complex.

October 1: Catalina H.S. Student Tyler Renfro, 17, is arrested for pulling out an air soft gun and pocket knife, then threatening other students, forcing the school to go on lockdown.

October 4: Two Sunnyside H.S. students report seeing another student with a weapon, officers locate the student, but don't find any weapons.

October 23: There is a report of a teenager with gun walking toward Santa Rita H.S. TPD never finds any suspicious person or weapon.

November 8: Three schools in the Amphitheater School District are placed on lockdown after a bomb threat is found written on a bathroom wall at Amphi Middle School. TPD never finds any bomb or dangerous weapon inside the school.

November 8: Sewell Elementary School is placed on lockdown after a man threatens to kill the principal.

November 19: Cholla H.S. is placed on lockdown after a teacher and student sees a male student pull out a metal object, which they say looks like a gun.


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