Parents arrested after trying to get to their kids in El Mirage elementary school lockdown
Thompson Ranch Elementary School in El Mirage was placed on hold for about an hour Friday morning after someone reportedly saw a man with a gun near the school's facilities, the El Mirage Police Department said.
The suspect is now in custody, according to Renee Ryon, a spokeswoman for the Dysart Unified School District.
Police said they received a call from school staff around 10:30 a.m. about a gunman attempting to enter the school.
According to initial police testimonies, the man entered the school's administration building, but police determined the statements were "unfounded."
"This morning at Thompson Ranch Elementary School, a person who appeared to have a handgun attempted to gain entry to campus through an outside door without success," Ryon said. "The campus immediately went into lockdown and the person fled without ever being granted entry to the building."
Officers from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the El Mirage and Surprise Police Departments responded to the location, but the suspect had fled the scene, El Mirage Police said.
Police said staff found a "suspicious package" at the school. El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca said there was no threat and the school was safe.
Police said technicians were called to assess the contents of the package, which was determined to be free of explosives.
"Law enforcement cleared the campus of all threats and the process of student reunification began," Ryon said. "The suspect was arrested this afternoon and is now in custody."
All of the children were safe and were expected to return home while the police investigated.
Marzocca advised parents and family members to stay away from school until the school district advises otherwise.
Three parents, one of whom had a firearm, were arrested on the school campus after the incident, Lt. El Mirage Police Department's Jimmy Chavez during a news conference Friday afternoon.
Chavez said the three parents became "confrontational" with police, and officers used stun guns on two of the parents.
One of the parents was taken to the hospital and treated after the incident, Chavez said.
"...It's important to remind our community that no one can enter or leave campus when a lockdown is in place," Ryon said. "This is being done in conjunction with law enforcement so they can evacuate every part of campus to ensure the safety of all students and staff."
According to police, the parents arrived on campus before children and school staff were evacuated when they received notifications from children at the school.
"During the lockdown, it's very important that parents understand that no one is allowed on campus," Chavez said. "Several parents continued their excitement, they had made multiple statements that they were coming to campus to protect their children. As a parent, I understand that philosophy, but there are procedures that law enforcement and the school follow.”
The investigation is still ongoing, police said.
School resumes on Monday 15th August according to the regular schedule.
In Tucson, officials at Flowing Wells High School on Friday responded to a report of a student possessing a gun.
The school was temporarily closed while officers located and arrested a 14-year-old boy, according to Sgt. Richard Gradillas of the Tucson Police Department.
“We are awaiting details on the case to see what the charges are. No injuries were reported," Gradillas said in an email.
TPD could not confirm the weapon type.
Reach Breaking News reporter Laura Daniella Sepulveda at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lauradNews.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: El Mirage Thompson Ranch Elementary Locked; The police give the all-clear
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