Gun threat prompts lockdown at Billings middle school

2013-09-10T08:47:00Z 2013-09-10T15:55:51Z Gun threat prompts lockdown at Billings middle schoolGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
September 10, 2013 8:47 am  • 

Billings police officials briefly locked down Lewis and Clark Middle School on Tuesday morning in response to a gun threat made by a student there a day earlier.

Nobody was injured and school resumed as normal within about 30 minutes of the lockdown, which School District 2 Supt. Terry Bouck described as a precautionary measure.

"We want to reassure the parents that we always are cautions, no matter what," he said.

Bouck said that late Monday afternoon, several students at the school, at 1315 Lewis Ave., overheard another student "threaten violence with a gun," although no weapon was actually seen.

Those students reported what they'd heard to Principal Steve Pomroy, who removed the student from the school and sent the student to an "alternative location" until further notice, he said.

When the student did not arrive at the location on Tuesday morning, school officials were worried he might show up back at Lewis and locked the school down as a precaution, Bouck said.

The district notified parents of the lockdown via text or phone call and asked them to avoid the area while police responded.

More than a half-dozen officers officers arrived and, armed with rifles, entered the school.

"The police did a search of the entire area," Bouck said.

They didn't find anything inside and soon after left the building, lifting the lockdown and allowing school to resume. The student at the center of the incident was found elsewhere without incident at about the same time, Bouck said.

While no charges were immediately filed, Bouck said the incident remains under investigation.

"We need to conclude the investigation and see exactly what transpired," he said.

The response is a part of SD2 policy. Bouck said the district takes such situations very seriously and wants to be extra cautious when threats surface.

"We have 16,500 kids (in the district) and we need be very vigilant," he said.

Part of the review of the incident will include looking at how the school and SD2 officials responded, both internally and in working with the police.

That review can help officials better respond to situations in the future, Bouck said.

Billings Police Department Lt. Kevin Iffland referred questions about the incident to Bouck.

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