Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Central High School Lockdown update

MESA COUNTY, Colo -  This morning, at 9:54, a call came into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center from a male subject threatening the lives of students and staff at Central High School. The caller claimed to be hiding in the school with weapons. The threat was determined to be unsubstantiated after a thorough search of the school campus, and no such person or weapons of any kind were found. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Grand Junction Police Department, and the FBI determined that the threat is not real. We are confident there is not a credible threat to any of our local schools today or in the near future.

While the investigation is in the early stages and still very active, there are indications that this call did not originate locally. The investigation into the caller’s identity is ongoing.

Law enforcement from around the county, including the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Junction Police Department, and the Colorado State Patrol, immediately responded to the school. The campus was put on lockdown.

Law enforcement entered the school and began the process of methodically checking the school for any potential threat, and none was found.

Deputies and officers then went classroom by classroom and safely evacuated all 1,400 students and staff to Palisade High School to be reunited with parents through the School District’s reunification process.

Once the school was completely evacuated, the Grand Junction Police Department Bomb Squad swept Central High School for any suspicious items. None were found.

Rumors that a suspect was seen by students inside the school with a device, and that a suspect was barricaded in a classroom, are not accurate. Any threat to student safety is taken very seriously and will be thoroughly investigated. However, we caution people against believing everything they read on social media. Please look to your trusted media outlets, or law enforcement agency, for the latest correct information during a developing situation.

In response to questions about why we evacuated the school despite the fact the threats to student safety were not substantiated: student and staff safety is always the top priority. Threats are taken seriously, and are thoroughly investigated. Although this process is lengthy and labor intensive, we cannot take any chances where threats to the safety of our schools is concerned.

We want to thank parents for their patience and cooperation during today’s events. We know how stressful being separated from your loved ones during the unknown can be.

If your child has a car at Central High School, the campus is now open, and they can come pick it up at this time. They cannot, however, go inside to the school to retrieve belongings including car keys until tomorrow.

We will share additional information about this investigation as it becomes available.