Student with gun puts Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma HS into lockdown
Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma went into lockdown Wednesday morning. Police say that officers detained four students and that a gun was involved.
The school went into lockdown between 8:15-8:30 a.m. By 9:40 a.m., the high school was placed into modified lockdown, meaning that classes were continuing as normal but all exterior doors were remaining locked. Only the front doors of the school, which will be monitored, are open for the rest of the day.
“Our ‘see something, say something campaign’ with the Tacoma Police Department worked perfectly today,” said Dan Voelpel with Tacoma Public Schools. “Because a student reported to the school administration that they were aware a student was on campus with a gun. So the school went into immediate lockdown and notified the Tacoma Police Department.”
Voelpel said that one of the individuals is a student at Mount Tahoma High School, but could not say their age or their grade. No injuries were reported. No shots were fired.
Loretta Cool with the Tacoma Police Department confirmed that three people were observed leaving campus at around 8:26 a.m. but they were intercepted by campus security and told to return to class. Around that time, a student noticed that one of the three — another student — had a gun and placed it in their backpack. Police were then notified.
Cool said that police eventually detained three people on the campus, but outside of the school buildings; one person had a gun and was arrested. A fourth person was contacted after their apprehension.
“The one with the gun was arrested and he was charged with felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, and a robbery charge which was a previous crime he had been involved in. That was discovered when they learned who he was,” Cool said.
“I believe that the student contacted with the gun was carrying it, and he would say ‘it’s for protection,'” she said. “… I would say that the young man with the gun probably has a little bit of a criminal history.”
Voelpel said that the school district began a “see something, say something” campaign about a year ago in partnership with the police department. Posters have been placed throughout Tacoma schools, promoting that students should tell someone and call 911 if they notice a gun on campus.
Mount Tahoma High School is at 4634 South 74th Street in Tacoma. It serves up to 1,800 students.