Neither incident represented a legitimate threat or intention, according to police, but schools responded in abundance of caution
Two Parker school principals have written letters to parents about alleged statements from students regarding firearms in the days since the Parkland, Florida shooting.
First, a Parker High School student was taken into custody on February 16th after he allegedly talked about having a shotgun in his vehicle at the school and said that he intended to buy an AR-15 the following weekend. The AR-15 was the weapon used to kill 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland just two days before, so the statement was flagged to school staff.
Police did find an unloaded shotgun in the student’s vehicle and took him into custody because the gun did not comply with the law in the way it was stored in the vehicle. There was no threat to harm anybody implied in the arrest or the charges.
“We have the utmost confidence our students and staff are safe,” wrote Parker High School Principal Paul Olsen in a letter to parents, “but, with our recent shootings across the nation, felt it was important to inform you of this incident.”
Then, on February 20th, a child at Blake Primary School “got mad, cussed out the teacher, and said that he was going to bring a real gun to school” and shoot two other students, according to a witness and law enforcement.
Blake Primary School Principal Joanna Hermes confirmed the incident and said police had been notified.
“Law enforcement was immediately notified regarding the incident and conducted an investigation that confirmed the child does not have access to firearms,” she wrote in a letter to parents. “The student has been removed from our campus pending further notice. The safety of our students is a priority, we appreciate your support and understanding in this unfortunate situation.”
The Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department also confirmed the primary school incident, saying that a search of the property where the student lives revealed no firearms.
“It has been determined that no firearms are accessible to the student and the student did not intend to or have the means to carry out the threat,” reads a CRIT PD statement issued Wednesday.
Law enforcement agencies including Parker PD and CRIT PD are regularly on school campuses on patrol and have school resource officers on duty and working together.
“There have been numerous kids arrested and charged across the state since the Florida shooting for similar reasons as this,” said Parker Police Department’s Michael Bailey, speaking to Parker Live. “Schools are responding to everything with a lot of caution right now, just in case. Some of these things get counted when they happen within a certain distance of a school too.”
Bailey said that he did not believe the first incident represented a threat to shoot anyone, and the second was determined to be an idle threat with no ability to enact it.
“Still, anytime we receive word of something like this, we investigate them, we do assess them and if there’s some merit to it, we can take action,” he said. “If it’s just a kid being dumb, we let the school handle it administratively. But I have kids going to Parker schools too and I feel good about their safety. We keep the schools as safe as we can and help deter anything like this.”