POCATELLO – Law enforcement officials in eastern Idaho have issued a public safety warning after several parents responded to a recent school lockdown armed with AR-15 rifles and a pistol.
The Idaho State Journal reports that Marsh Valley High School was placed on lockdown Wednesday due to allegations a student was carrying a pistol.
Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says some parents – alerted by students locked in classrooms via text and calls – decided to show up to the school carrying AR-15 rifles.
Another parent was carrying an unholstered pistol, which resulted in a confrontation with a state trooper. That parent was asked to leave school grounds and has since apologized to the trooper.
Nielsen says it is a “very bad idea” for parents to show up to a school lockdown armed with guns because it could cause law enforcement officials to think they’re active shooters and open fire.
“When you want to do something and you’re frustrated, you can’t take the law into your own hands,” he said. “It’s best to let us take care of incidents like this because if you respond you will be more of a hindrance, you could be harmed, and you’re going to make it tougher for us to protect the kids.”
Authorities say a brother and sister, both students who attend the high school, were driving to school Wednesday when the brother pistol-whipped his sister and then threatened her. Once at school, the brother stayed in the car and the sister went inside to tell her friends she was afraid of what he might do next.
Bannock County Sheriff’s office was alerted and about 20 officers went to the school, which was placed on lockdown. Authorities found the brother within 30 minutes and he was taken into custody.
Nielsen added that the armed parents could have been arrested but weren’t.
“Do not self-deploy to assist us,” Nielsen said. “We believed we had a kid who had just injured his sister and who had a gun. This wasn’t a test. We believed there was the possibility of an active shooter.”
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