Posted 7:35 PM 10/1/2013 : Air soft gun triggers Catalina H.S. lockdown
TUCSON - Tucson Police arrested a 17-year-old Catalina High School student after the school was under a lockdown for several hours. Police say a school official called 911 and reported a student with a gun.
Detectives reveal the incident began after Tyler Renfro and an 18-year-old student got into a fight in the baseball dugout before school started. The 18-year-old victim realized it was an air soft gun. Police say that's when Renfro pulled out a pocket knife and threatened the victim.
Renfro was booked into the Pima County Jail and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and participating in a street gang while committing an aggravated assault.
The students were in lockdown for over two hours. Cara Rene, spokesperson for Tucson Unified School District says, "The main thing parents should know is we take the safety of the children very seriously and that's the priority today."
Tucson police quickly surrounded the area near Grant and Dodge and began searching classrooms. Sgt. Chris Widmer says they recovered the gun (air soft gun) but have not recovered the pocket knife.
Meanwhile, as students were in lockdown, parents and family gathered outside the school. Most of them were there because their children had texted them of the situation and they wanted to go home.
Stefanie Varela says her brother Michael told her, " He didn't know what was going on, he and other students were under tables locked in a classroom and he was scared."
Lupe Celax says her daughter Perla was also texting her and even told her police had located the gun, and arrested the student. She says the students were listening to police monitors while they were in lockdown. Celax says all she could think about was past school shootings, and was hoping and praying this incident wouldn't turn into tragedy.
Perla tells News 4, the teachers did an excellent job keeping them calm, she also says the students prayed.
Tucson police says 45 officers were sent to Catalina High School, they arrived within minutes from when the 911 call was placed.
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