Police tase student who allegedly threatened officers with knives

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Firefighters responded to a fire at North Canyon High School in Phoenix Thursday morning. By Jennifer Thomas Firefighters responded to a fire at North Canyon High School in Phoenix Thursday morning. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Police arrested a junior at North Canyon High School Thursday morning after they say she threw a knife at an officer and refused to surrender.

The incident, which happened on the second day of the new school year, prompted a lockdown of the school for nearly two hours.

Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said a school resource officer spotted a suspicious looking female student in the school just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

"It was a young woman, she was dressed in a black hoodie and jeans," Thomspon said.

The school resource officer radioed for help from Phoenix police.

When officers arrived they found the student, a 16-year-old girl, in the lobby of the school and say she was armed with two knives.

"In one hand she had a knife described as a bread knife with perhaps a 12- to 14-inch blade with two prongs at the end," Thompson said. "She also had a steak knife."

The officers then pulled their guns and ordered the teen to drop the knives, but they said she did not comply.

"At one point she threw the steak knife at one of our officers," Thompson said. "He stepped aside and it deflected off of his chest."

Police said the teen continued to be uncooperative and so an officer deployed a stun gun. His first attempt was unsuccessful, but he was able to subdue her on a second attempt and she was taken into custody.

Around the same time as the confrontation was taking place, firefighters responded to reports of a small fire in the school.

They found a small fire in a garbage can in a hallway and quickly extinguished it.

While investigating the scene, police found a third knife, described as a steak knife, near a classroom on the second floor of the school. They believe it also belonged to the suspect.

Police do not know if the fire is linked to the teenage suspect in custody.

The suspect will be detained at the Maricopa County Juvenile Court Center, charged with aggravated assault on a police officer and disruption of an educational facility.

After initial reports that a student had brought weapons onto campus, the school was put on lockdown and students were told not to leave their classrooms.

Aaron Patrick got a text from his son who was in one of the classrooms and immediately came to the school on 17th Street and Union Hills Drive to make sure everything was OK.

"You don't know, is there someone with a gun out there? I don't know if there's a fire, I don't know what's going on," he said. "To have your kid stuck in a room like that, and him being scared and there's nothing you can do, it's pretty worrisome."

The lockdown was lifted at 9:30 a.m. and classes proceeded normally.

North Canyon High School, part of the Paradise Valley School District, posted the following statement on its website:

"A lockdown at North Canyon High School has been lifted and students will be returning to their normal class schedule following an incident involving suspicious behavior of a student.

"Police were on-site and contained the situation. The school went into lockdown to enable Phoenix Police to fully investigate after the individual in question had become confrontational. No students or faculty were harmed."

Read a message from Principal Elaine Jacobs regarding the incident.