Separate reports of a young child with a gun, a high school student sending threatening messages and a gunshot sound lead to an arrest and two Rapid City schools going into soft-lockdowns Thursday morning.
Police received a report around 9:30 a.m. that a young child on the 800 block of Mallow Street was walking toward Horace Mann Elementary School and possibly carrying a gun, said Brendyn Medina, spokesman for the Rapid City Police Department.
The school was immediately placed on secure status, which means schools lock their outside doors so no one is allowed in or out of the building, Medina said. While class continues, movement is restricted and students are not allowed to leave the classroom without a teacher escort, said Katy Urban, Rapid City Area Schools spokeswoman.
Police formed a perimeter around the school and searched the area, but found no suspicious person or activity, Medina said.
At the same time police were dealing with the incident at Horace Mann, Medina said, police began investigating a report that a juvenile male student from Central High School was sending two other students threatening messages that mentioned a gun. The high school was also placed on secure status.
Police then found the student at his home and arrested him due to existing warrants, Medina said.
At 10 a.m., police tweeted that both schools were being taken out of secure status.
However, around 11 a.m., Howard Mann was again put on secure status due to a report of gunfire near the school, Medina said. The status was lifted soon after police searched the area and found nothing suspicious. Multiple people usually call police when a gun is fired, but the department only received one report, Medina said.
"Parents should know that the Rapid City Police Department takes all threats to student safety seriously,” Lt. Eli Diaz of the Patrol Division said in a press release. “In both of these incidents, going into secure status was the right call. After further follow-up in both these cases, it is not believed there exists any lingering threat to the safety of the public.”
Secure status was initiated in both schools through an announcement on the intercom, said Urban, the schools spokeswoman. She said details about the incident were not shared as that only happens when there is an immediate threat and staff and students need specific instructions.
She said parents were alerted to the incident via the school's mass messaging system, which sends information to parents' emails and phones. Teachers were also told about what prompted the secure status and can choose to share the information with students.
The secure status incidents at Horace Mann and Central High come after an incident last month when a woman falsely reported a gun threat at Pinedale Elementary School.
Pinedale initiated ALICE — Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate — protocols, a response to reported active-shooter incidents. The woman was charged with two misdemeanors for her false report: one count of false reporting and one count of disturbance of a school.