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BB Gun Causes Lockdown at Raleigh Middle School

Posted October 18, 2007

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— Ligon Middle School was locked down for about two hours Thursday morning after a teen brought a gun to the school, police said.

Police said they received a call at around 7:30 a.m. after a witness saw a youth outside the school with what appeared to be a weapon.

"We got a call from a witness that observed an individual, that saw something suspicious on the person, possibly a weapon, come on the school grounds," said Capt. M.A. Reynolds, of the Raleigh Police Department. "We conducted a search of the school grounds, both exterior and interior. As a result of the search, we located a subject."

School security personnel and the Wake County Sheriff's Office school resource officers assisted police in the sweep of the school.

A 13-year-old boy was found in the school media center with a BB gun. He was taken into custody by Wake County deputies and was charged as a minor with possession of a weapon on school grounds and carrying a concealed weapon.

"The most important thing is for us to secure the school and make sure the students are safe as well as the staff. That's our main objective," Reynolds said.

The lockdown ended at about 9:30 a.m. without any injuries. Wake County school officials said the parents of more than 1,000 Ligon Middle students were provided information about the incident in a phone message sent out  about 30 minutes later.

The incident, including the blocked streets around the school, briefly caused anxiety for many parents, however.

"Obviously, if these kids can walk up in here with guns and knives and all that stuff, it is dangerous," said Patricia Fields, who has a daughter and a niece at Ligon Middle. "They is not paying attention to what's going on up in these schools."

"You just want to kind of wait and see what's going on inside," grandparent Joyce Jeffreys said.

Some parents pulled their children out of school for the day after the lockdown ended.

"I want to make sure he's safe. If not, I'll take him out of school for the day," parent Steve Thornhill said.

Law enforcement authorities and school officials train for such situations, said Russ Smith, director of security for the Wake County Public School System.

"No one was hurt. No one was at risk. However, precautions were taken, protective action was taken as called for in the plan," Smith said. "It's not over the top. Everyone did what we were trained to do. This came out a good ending to the story."