No weapons found after gun threat puts 3 schools on lockdown in Yuma


by Catherine Holland

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 12:33 PM

Map: Rancho Viejo Elem. School
H.L. Suverkrup School

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YUMA, Ariz. -- A gun threat that put three Yuma schools on lockdown Tuesday turned out to be nothing.

After receiving a call about a student who might have a gun, Yuma police responded to Rancho Viejo Elementary School on Avenue C south of Eighth Street just before 10 a.m.

The school immediately went into lockdown.

The Yuma Police Department, the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, the U.S Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection air support systematically searched the school grounds and surrounding area, but no weapon was found.

While most similar incidents have ended the same way, such threats are always taken seriously, with law-enforcement agencies following their search protocols and taking no chances.

Once the search teams cleared the campus, students from Rancho Viejo and nearby by Salida Del Sol Elementary School, which was also placed on lockdown, were take down the street to H.L. Suverkrup School to be reunited with their parents.

All three schools are part of Crane Elementary School District #13.

“I am very pleased with the response of our students and staff at the schools, " Crane Superintendent Robert Klee said during a news briefing. "They followed procedures, everything went smoothly and nobody was harmed. I appreciate the support of our parents during this difficult situation."

WACOG Preschool, which is near Rancho Viejo and Salida Del Sol, was placed on lockdown, as well.

According to the Rancho Viejo website, more than 400 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders are enrolled at the school. Salida Del Sol has more than 600 kids in kindergarten, first, second and third grades.

During a lockdown, students are kept indoors until the threat has been assessed and the campus deemed safe. Schools throughout the country established emergency lockdown protocols after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colo.

At this point, investigators have not released any information about the source of the threat, saying only that the initial call to police came from Rancho Viejo staff.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Yuma Police Department at 928-783-4421 or 78-CRIME to remain anonymous.