A male suspect is in custody after a suspicious backpack was found at a Katy, TX high school. The backpack, initially believed to hold an explosive device when it was found on the school’s east side, caused an evacuation of some 3,600 students at Seven Lakes High School.
The backpack was found at Seven Lakes High School’s ninth grade center’s performing arts hub. There was a fire drill during the school’s third class period moments before fourth period began, and that’s when the suspicious-looking backpack was discovered. The teaching staff evacuated the school a second time due to suspicions there was something wrong with the backpack. The fire drill had been previously scheduled and was unrelated to the evacuation that followed.
At 10 o’clock this morning, parents were notified via email that the school was being evacuated, and by 11 a.m., the Houston bomb squad was notified of a possible explosive device.
Students were moved to nearby Seven Lakes Junior High shortly after 12 in order to allow the bomb squad to do their work and to allow the students the opportunity to access washrooms, if needed. Students were then dismissed by 1:30. Those with vehicles and their keys with them could drive home following a security search. Others who lived in the vicinity of the school were granted permission to walk home. The remainder of the students had to either be bused home or picked up by their parents.
In addition to the Houston bomb squad, the FBI and the local sheriff’s office were called in to assist in the security sweep.
All after school activities had been cancelled at the school, and those students with no transportation home were placed on Katy ISD buses for safe passage home. Students who had tests or quizzes slated for Tuesday were instructed to check with their teachers to determine when the tests would actually run.
While there were no explosives in the backpack, there was a zip gun, which is really an improvised firearm. The male suspect, who remains in custody after the suspicious backpack was found at the Katy, Texas school, is facing charges in the incident.
The Katy Independent School District in Katy, TX reported on their website that the building had been searched extensively, the zip gun had been secured, and the building had been secured. Katy ISD said the building had been cleared for students to return tomorrow and administrators would be on hand to supervise student retrieval of items.
According to Katy ISD, Seven Lakes High School has been deemed safe for students to attend class again on Tuesday, but students are feeling wary. Several admit to the evacuation having been scary because they weren’t really kept informed about what was happening or when they were allowed to go home. In addition, some students were concerned with having to leave their vehicles, if they didn’t have their keys with them, or bikes, as the transportation would have been largely unsecured overnight. Those students who didn’t have their keys with them had left them in lockers when the evacuation had been called.
The male suspect remains in custody after the suspicious backpack was found at Katy, TX school Seven Lakes High. He continues to be unidentified by police.
By Christina St-Jean
Katy Independent School District