Gun found at Red Mountain High School; two 14-year-old boys taken into custody

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Mesa police say a gun was found on the campus of Red Mountain High School on Tuesday.

Police say the unloaded handgun was found in a backpack that was "under the control" of two 14-year-old boys. The students were said to be "involved in an exchange or purchase of a 9 mm handgun and two rounds of ammunition."

The two boys were taken into custody.

They will be referred to juvenile authorities for misdemeanor misconduct involving weapons, according to Mesa police.

But what were they doing with that weapon?

"We have conflicting stories from the different students. Both of them sort of wanted to blame the other for having the gun on campus. We've heard everything from they brought it for protection... to they possibly were trying to sell the firearm," said Det. Britney Brimhall with the Mesa Police Dept.

Police say "no threats were made" regarding the gun.

But some parents and grandparents who heard about the incident were upset.

"They shouldn't bring a gun to school. It endangers others. What if it went off in their backpack? Could have shot somebody."

"That's horrible. With all that is going on in the world? That's just horrible."

This incident follows a threat made on social media on Monday. The threat targeted the high school, but upon investigation, police say it was deemed not to be a viable threat. 

Here is the letter that school principal, Jared Ryan, sent to the Red Mountain families about the gun on campus Tuesday:

This afternoon we received reports that a student was in possession of a firearm while on school grounds (unrelated to the incident from yesterday). Administration, Security and Mesa Police immediately came together and investigated the report thoroughly. Two students were found to be involved in an exchange or purchase of a 9 mm handgun and two rounds of ammunition. The gun was found within a student backpack, which resulted in an extended investigation involving multiple police officers as well as school officials. Both students found to be involved have been referred to our District Hearing Officer for final determination related to school discipline. Each will face legal ramifications for their decisions and be held accountable to the highest extent possible.

As a campus, we are committed to ensuring the safety of our students.  We have been able to handle these recent situations in a timely manner as a result of the communication from our students along with the quick response from local law enforcement. We apologize for the necessity of communicating such disappointing news; however, it is imperative that our families have the most up-to-date information possible.
We appreciate your continued support of Red Mountain High School and thank you for allowing us to serve this wonderful community.

And here is the principal's letter sent Monday about the threat:

Earlier this evening we were made award of a threat on social media targeting Red Mountain High School. Mesa Police have since fully investigated the threat and determined it was not viable. Student and staff safety is our top priority and any perceived threat toward students or staff is taken very seriously until proven otherwise. We look forward to educating all students tomorrow and apologize for the need to communicate with our community late into the evening. We appreciate your continued support of Red Mountain High School and the commitment we all share to our community.

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