Lockdown lifted at Avondale school; no weapon found

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Westview High School in Avondale was in lockdown while police investigated information of a possible weapon on campus.

Police said they have not found a gun on campus but are investigating a person of interest. The lockdown has been lifted.

Avondale police Sgt. Mathew Hintz said earlier Friday a student was found with a holster at the school.

A teacher reportedly told a school resource officer that someone was threatening to shoot people on campus.

Student Jonathan Strobe said when he realized it wasn't a drill, he got out of his seat and went to the wall farthest from the door.

"They said, 'Just be calm and just stay in your seats.' I was just scared. I just went up against the wall and just stayed right there," Strobe said.

Police searched the school, which is near 107th Avenue and Indian School Road.

Julian Hernandez said one of his classmates was pulled out of the classroom during the lockdown.

"I was sitting in class like a normal lockdown would go, and then police came in and asked for him," Julian Hernandez said. "The teacher gave him up to the police, they gave them his bag, and then they just took him."

Hintz said in a statement to 3TV that the Avondale Police Department was "allowing the school to release students one class at a time with escort to ensure the safety of the students, faculty, and parents on campus."

"It was kind of scary at first," said student Gwen O'Neil. "Once I knew that the police were here and that we were going to get escorted out, it was fine."

A statement on the Tolleson Union High School District's website said students were released to go home at 4:55 p.m.

Aerial video showed some parents waiting at the school.
 
"I hadn't seen the message from school," said parent Patricia Hernandez. "A cousin called me to let me know what was going on at school, and I freaked out. I called the superintendent's office. They let me know that someone had gone onto school grounds with a weapon."

Police said they searched classrooms and other parts of campus but would only search a student if they had reason to believe the student was involved in the threats.