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Gun found, students evacuated at school in Englewood; no injuries reported

Colorado's Finest underwent lockdown as police searched building

Posted

This story was updated with new information Feb. 12.

Officials locked down Colorado's Finest High School of Choice in Englewood as police responded to a report of a possible weapon at the school about 2 p.m. Feb. 7. Police vehicles blocked off the perimeter and about 200 students were evacuated on buses to a school across town.

Officers recovered a gun from the alternative school at 300 W. Chenango Ave. and took a 17-year-old male student into custody, said Scot Allen, spokesman for the Englewood Police Department. The male was jailed in a facility in Arapahoe County that night. Police submitted five charges for prosecutors to consider, including carrying a concealed weapon on school grounds and interference with staff, faculty or students of an educational institution, which is a charge that applies when there's a disruption in a place of education, Allen said.

Shortly after 2 p.m., concerned parents pulled into a parking lot across the street and waited for students to walk out of Colorado's Finest, as an Englewood Police SWAT truck drove down the closed-off West Chenango Avenue in front of the school. South Delaware Street was also blocked off.

"There were no injuries whatsoever," Allen said. "Police are performing a search of the school as a precaution."

Police continued to check the building until at least 3:30 p.m., and students arrived at Bishop Elementary School on at least three buses by that time. Evacuation began about 2:30 p.m. No other schools underwent a lockdown, said Julie McMorris, spokeswoman for Englewood Schools.

A woman outside Bishop Elementary was texting her grandson, a senior at Colorado's Finest who was in the building during the lockdown.

"Don't call or text," he wrote to her just after 2 p.m. "We're in lockdown. Just in case I love you."

The woman waited for a bus carrying her grandson to arrive.

"I was so scared," she said. "Thank God they're all OK. We just want to get him home." 

No gunshots were fired, McMorris said. The gun found in relation to the male student was reported by another student. Police have not released further details about the nature of the reported threat because the investigation is ongoing.

A bus route to Colorado's Finest from The Englewood Campus (TEC) - which houses Englewood High and Englewood Middle schools and Englewood Leadership Academy - was redirected to Bishop Elementary.

Parents were able to meet the evacuated students at Bishop Elementary to pick them up, and some of the students and parents then went back on their own to Colorado's Finest to pick up their belongings. All those students were gone from Colorado's Finest by 4:30 p.m., Allen said.

A threat of violence was also reported at Englewood High School around 3 p.m. Englewood police responded to that location and determined there was no threat, and no one was taken into custody. The school did not undergo a lockdown, and the reported threat did not appear to be related to the one at Colorado's Finest, Allen said.

Further information on the nature of that reported threat was not immediately available.

Extra mental-health support was provided for staff and students at Colorado's Finest after the incident there, in addition to counselors already on staff at the school.

"Students spent time in their family group (similar to homeroom) reconnecting and debriefing and were allowed to leave class at any time to seek mental-health support," McMorris said.

David Gilbert contributed to this report.

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