A planned shooting was thwarted Monday at a Salt Lake City high school. According to police, a classmate noticed the student with the handgun in his waistband at Fremont High School. Allegedly, the high school junior was planning to shoot and kill his ex-girlfriend and other people at random.
The classmate notified authorities and the potential student shooter was apprehended around 12:17 pm. The student, who remained unidentified, was booked into juvenile detention. The 16-year-old was charged with three counts of possession. The charges were possession of a weapon with intent to assault, having a weapon in a restricted area, and possession by a minor.
Heavily armed officers swarmed down on the school once the call came over the radio. Fremont High School is approximately 45 miles north of Salt Lake City in Weber County. Praises were given to the quick response of school officials and law enforcement. The student that reported the gun is being hailed a hero. The school resource officer that engaged the student stated that he was cooperative and did confirm that he was in possession of a loaded handgun.
The teen, according to Weber County Sheriff Sgt. Lane Findlay, became upset over rumors about him going around the school. Salt Lake City Police were able to thwart the school shooting plans, apprehending the suspect without a shot being fired. The school in Plain City was evacuated for several hours while police searched classrooms one by one.
The teen was detained before getting a chance to threaten anyone. Students were advised by police to leave all backpacks as they evacuated and only allowed to leave with cell phones and keys. Students were patted down upon exiting the school. All after school activities were canceled for the rest of Monday. An estimated 70 law enforcement authorities were on the scene around the clock as the incident unfolded and the scene processed.
Mitch Wall, a sophomore at Fremont High School, said that SWAT team members brought the students out into the hallway. The students were lined up against the wall and each one searched top-to-bottom. Another student, Kenly Rogers, said that the incident was quite unexpected. The potential school shooting struck too close to home. Parents who received news of the school lockdown hurried to the scene of the potential school shooting.
The ex-girlfriend of the would-be-school shooter and her family were speaking with authorities. According to Deseret News, Weber County Sheriff Sgt. Lane Findlay stated that the family was shaken up about the planned attack. Nate Taggart, Weber County School District spokesman assured that the students did not face an immediate threat at any point.
Initially, the student told investigators during interrogation that he was unsure if anyone else was involved with the potential school shooting. His noncommittal response prompted authorities to search the building as a precaution. The process took about four hours to complete.
Police were able to thwart a planned school shooting in Salt Lake City with the help of training and emergency drills. Classes were back in session Tuesday while an extra police presence was felt. Weeks earlier, the sheriff’s office did a presentation at the school presenting the same kind of scenario. Students remembered the training and a serious crisis was averted in a time where school shootings are happening almost every month, around the country.
By Stevenson Benoit
Photo by Mike Renlund – Flickr License