Deputies are trying to determine what led students from Chaparral and Legend high schools to bring weapons to school.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a school resource officer at Legend High School that a Chaparral student brought guns to school in a vehicle. Officials “acted swiftly” and isolated both the student and the car May 7, said Ron Hanavan, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
“Guns were located, but we’re not saying what guns or how many,” he said, adding he is unable to disclose whether the guns were loaded.
Knives were later found in the vehicles of two Legend students. Investigators say there was not an imminent threat to student safety, but believe the two incidents are related. Hanavan said the weapons stem from “circumstances outside of the school.”
A letter sent home to the parents of Legend students says the two unidentified students “are also working through disciplinary action for having a knife in their car.” Chaparral’s principal, Ron Peterson, also sent a letter to parents that encourages tipsters to come forward with information about potential danger.
All of the students involved face potential charges and sanctions by the schools because weapons of any kind are prohibited on school grounds, said Randy Barber, spokesman for the Douglas County School District.
Hanavan said detectives are interviewing multiple people with knowledge of the situation, however, it becomes tough because while many feel they have information, much of it is attributed to rumor. The sheriff’s office spokesman said at this point there is no evidence of a “credible plot to harm the schools or students.”
Joni Perkins, the mother of a Chaparral freshman, first learned about the incident moments after picking up her daughter from school. But she didn’t hear from the 15-year-old. She received the e-mail from Peterson on her phone. Perkins commended the school district’s response and said if she heard about guns being found at Chaparral during school hours, she would have been among the many parents who would have immediately gone to pick up their children, probably causing “chaos.”
“At first I was alarmed as a parent, but knowing she was in the car with me, I felt relieved,” she said.
Perkins said the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999 always comes to mind when she hears about guns at a school, but was glad this case did not get to that point.
“It’s a different society [since Columbine],” she said. “It can happen anywhere.”