Found Firearm Prompts Valdez City School District Lockdown

A firearm found Tuesday  in a Valdez school forced every school in the Valdez City School District on lock down.  The Valdez Police Department is investigating as to how the weapon ended up in the school.

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Students from Gilson Middle School boarded buses after they spent part of their Tuesday afternoon on lockdown.  Around 2 p.m., a loaded handgun was found in the school forcing the Valdez City School District to take immediate action.

“Valdez High School and Herman Hutchins Elementary also initiated lockdown protocol right away. The Valdez Police Department was notified immediately. Students were safe at all times. All students were dismissed by classroom and safely accompanied outside of the building,” Gilson Middle School Principal Rod Morrison said.

Morrison said the students were dismissed at their normal times, but the buses were delayed for about 15 minutes.

Valdez Police Chief Bill Comer said the District followed the right protocol in handling the situation.

“We sent officers to all the schools just to make sure that everything was safe until we could understand what was going on and the nature and the scope of how the firearm got there. We’re working on that, we don’t have any answers right now and we’ll let you know when we can,” Comer said.

Officers spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the night searching for more weapons.  For now, the police aren’t releasing the description of the firearm or where it was found.  So far, there is no indication as to why a weapon was brought to the school.  Comer said despite the incident, no one is at risk.

We’ll likely have an officer around, but the teachers and the school administration is the best read for us on what’s going on, and there’s really been no sign of any kind of aggressive behavior or any kind of threats to the school. So there’s really – outside of just finding this firearm in the school – there’s nothing to indicate that the school would be unsafe,” Comer said.

Students are scheduled to resume classes at normal times.

Tony Gorman is a reporter at KCHU in Valdez.

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