WEST OAK LANE (WTXF) - A local middle school on lockdown and police surrounding the building all after a student reported seeing a gun. It turned out to be a toy, but parents are understandably on edge, especially in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Florida school. Local authorities were not taking any chances on West Oak Lane.
There were plenty of hugs outside the Wagner Middle School Friday afternoon as students were reunited with their parents following a four-hour lockdown after reports of a gun at school.
“It was scary,” one student said
“I’m just happy especially after all that’s been going on in the country this week,” parent Janice Pugh said.
The lockdown at Wagner caused some anxious moments two days after the massacre of 17 students and staff at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Cierra Cooper was glad to see her mother after a tense morning for students.
“For the first two hours, I didn’t know if it was real or fake, so I was just sitting there,” student Cierra Cooper said.
“When she text me she’s like ‘Mom we’re in lockdown.’ She’s like ‘I think it’s real,’” mom Marisol Peters said.
The 9 a.m. lockdown came after a 13-year-old female student reported seeing another student showing off a gun outside the school. Then she saw the same student inside. After two intense searches by SWAT teams and K9s. Police found a plastic toy gun that shoots plastic pellets stashed behind a radiator.
“What this speaks to is the importance of something we hammer down every day which is see something, say something,” Sgt. Eric Gripp said
“The SWAT team came in. they patted us down,” said a student.
This is the 81st school lockdown in Philadelphia this school year. FOX 29 has learned there have been 270 school threats investigated by city police since January 2017. Some include student versus student threats. This one ended without incident.
“We’d rather be out here all day if we have to be to make sure these kids get out of here safely,” said Sgt. Gripp.
Police say they handled this lockdown just like every other. All hands on deck with the Parkland, Florida school shooting still fresh in everyone’s mind. Parents, students and police were extremely concerned, then relieved.
“You never know when it’s a false alarm or if it’s for real. I’m happy it’s a false alarm,” said Pugh.
“Let somebody know about it. It was a toy gun today. Tomorrow it could be a real one,” said Sgt. Gripp.
Police praised the 13-year-old girl who first reported the gun. Sources say three 13-year-old boys were detained and questioned about the toy gun. They admitted stashing the gun behind a radiator after the lockdown was announced. No word on whether they’ll face charges. There were no injuries reported in the incident at Wagner Middle School. Counseling will be available for students on Tuesday.