AURORA | Rangeview High School was placed on lockdown for two hours Friday morning, prompting confusion and panicky parents over what may have been students bringing a BB gun to school.
No one was harmed during the incident, and there were no reported gunshots in the school.
Shortly after noon, officers contacted two boys near the corner of East Evans Avenue and South Buckley Road, one of whom matched the description of a boy in a Snapchat video that prompted a massive police presence at the school, according to information provided by the Aurora Police Department. Officers found one of the boys had “a BB gun made to look like a real firearm,” police said in a press release issued late Friday afternoon.
Both boys were taken into custody and questioned at the District 3 station on East Arapahoe Road. The boys have since been released to their parents, according to police.
Possible criminal charges are pending.
While police cannot identify the suspects due to their age, officers did clarify that both boys are students at Rangeview.
Aurora Police first received reports a student had a possible weapon at about 11:15 a.m., when a school resource officer at Rangeview saw an image on Snapchat of a student with what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband. The SRO believed the student was inside the school when the image was posted.
The school was then placed on lockdown status and students were instructed to shelter in place. Police transported any students and staff members outside of the school at the time of the lockdown to the nearby King Soopers parking lot at the corner of East Iliff Avenue and South Buckley Road.
Mrachek Middle School and Vassar Elementary School were also placed on secure perimeters as a precaution.
Students said much of the school has been edgy this week about possible shootings. The school newspaper for Rangeview, The Rangeview Review, posted a story earlier in the week detailing rumored threats — made via Snapchat — of a possible school shooting on Halloween. School officials said the threats were not credible.
Following the lockdown, an estimated 70 law enforcement officials swarmed the school on East Iliff Avenue, including teams of police officers who combed through the school and searched for a possible gunman.
Distraught parents were trying to find their children outside of the school after students were let out at about 1:10 p.m.
“I’m done with schools,” Teri Levy said about sending her daughter, Savannah Villarreal, to any other school after the incident today, saying that she felt it’s too dangerous.
She said she sent her daughter, a senior, to Rangeview after conducting research and determining it was the safest school in the Aurora Public Schools district.
“If they can get to Rangeview — I’m done with schools,” Levy said.
Students were released from school in waves of about 100 children at a time.
Some of the students were met by groups of waiting parents who had shown up in response to news reports and tweets from police. Aurora police officers informed the parents of the situation as they arrived on campus to pick up their children.
Parents said there was a great deal of misinformation and confusion when news about the incident began to go public.
Police originally reported only detaining one male juvenile.
One parent who had come to get her son was surrounded by other parents as she read aloud texts he was sending from inside the locked-down school. Her son said he’d heard the threat was a bomb and that she should get away from the school. He texted her to tell others that he loved them.
Some parents around Rangeview waiting to pick up their children said school officials had sent out emails and made phone calls to parents earlier this week, warning parents of rumored threats made via social media.
Karen Fickas, whose 14-year-old son is a freshman at Rangeview, said the email she received earlier in the week was concerning.
“Definitely it’s concerning,” she said. “And they don’t say when or where or how severe (the threats are).”