Schools locked down during search

A Grand Junction police officer allows a couple of students to leave R-5 High School on Thursday during a school lockdown.

Parents wait in line Thursday to pick up East Middle School students after a school lockdown.

A search Thursday afternoon for a teenage boy suspected of having a kitchen knife and possibly heading toward R-5 High School ended when law enforcement found the boy without a knife miles away from R-5 High.

R-5 High, 310 N. Seventh St., and The Opportunity Center, 1129 Colorado Ave.,  were placed on lockdown at 1 p.m. Thursday after a family member of the 16-year-old called 911 and reported the teenager may have a knife and may be on his way to R-5 High School.

The boy had a meeting at R-5 scheduled for sometime Thursday, according to Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras.

Porras said law enforcement contacted the boy via phone Thursday afternoon, and he said he was at Mesa Mall. He agreed to meet a school resource officer outside Target, where he was taken into custody, Porras said. She said no weapons were found on the boy, and it did not appear after initial questioning that his actions would warrant an arrest.

School District 51 decided to lock the doors at The Opportunity Center as well as R-5 because the boy was last reported at a home in Pear Park, and law enforcement thought he may have passed the center on his route, Porras said.

Also at 1 p.m., Chipeta Elementary School and East Middle School, which are each a few blocks from R-5, were put on shelter-in-place status. Shelter-in-place means students are allowed to move freely in a school but cannot leave until school officials or law enforcement gives them permission.

Nisley Elementary and Bookcliff Middle School were put on shelter-in-place status 20 minutes later because police believed the boy could have driven near those schools after leaving the Pear Park home. That status was lifted an hour later. The other four schools were pronounced clear a little after 3:30 p.m., shortly after the 16-year-old was taken into protective custody.

The shelter-in-place decision was lifted at each school before regular dismissal time with the exception of East Middle School. Students who take the bus were escorted to their buses by police officers, and parents were asked to pick up students who usually get a ride or walk home. Long lines formed as parents had to check in at the school to get their students.

“The parents at East were very understanding,” District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said.

Kirtland said it is “impossible” to call every parent during a lockdown or shelter-in-place situation, and the district encourages parents to check the district’s website for updates during those situations.


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