Salpointe holds drug forum following student murder

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Salpointe Catholic High School is taking steps to prevent another student from falling victim to drug-related violence.

The school hosted a drug safety forum Tuesday night and it all comes weeks after one of its own student's was shot and killed, allegedly during a drug deal.

Parents and students heard from a number of experts including law enforcement officers, victims' advocates and school staff members who deal with drug prevention.

Many of the experts had one message for parents, get involved before it's too late.

"Carlos said words to the effect, you're not going to shoot me over marijuana are you, words to that effect.  And he was shot," said Chief Rick Rick Kastigar while addressing the crowd Tuesday night.

Investigators say Salpointe student Carlos Sandoval wasn't prepared for drug dealing to have deadly consequences.  That's why the school hosted a forum, urging parents to get real about the dangers of drugs.

"We want to give every student and every parent tools to cope with the challenges that their kids face today," said Salpointe President Kay Sullivan.

"When they start hanging out with people that you as a parent know you're not comfortable with, man, it's time to say or do something," said ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns to the gathered parents and students.

Salpointe staff talked about a number of ways parents can take action, either through an anonymous tip line or drug screening tools made available by the school.

"Part of it is our random drug testing program.  So every student at salpointe is tested either with a hair sample or a cheek swab," said Sullivan.

Chief rick kastigar with the pima county sheriff's department had a sobering message for students.

Hanging around the wrong crowd can lead to jail time, as in the case with the five suspects linked to the Sandoval murder.

"Even though some of the other kids were there to help along this transaction they've been charged with a very life changing crime," said Chief Kastigar from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Victim's advocates with homicide survivors were there to tell of the worst case scenario, losing a loved one to drug violence.

"Life as you know it is no longer, the reality you've constructed is gone," said a victim's advocate to the crowd.

Special agent Dobyns also wanted parents to understand that this kind of violence can happen anywhere, even in the affluent Country Club area.  And even though your student might not be using or selling drugs, relationships with those who do, can still be trouble.