PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Evergreen High School, Cascade Middle School and Burton Elementary School all entered lockdowns Thursday afternoon while Vancouver police investigated a nearby shooting, authorities say.
The Vancouver Police Department says officers detained a 16-year-old boy after hearing reports of gunshots near the parking lot behind the high school’s stadium around 1 p.m. The scare had also prompted a shelter-in-place order for than 4,000 people living within a mile radius.
“Anytime we have a gun near a school or on a school campus, it is an urgent situation,” VPD spokesperson Kim Kapp said. “And so we are all hands-on deck to respond to those situations.”
By setting a wide perimeter with K9 units and drones, police say they were able to find the suspect, whose age and identity has not been shared with the public. Authorities say they do not believe he is a student at Evergreen High or connected to school activities.
He now faces charges for unlawful possession and unlawful discharge of a firearm, as well as first-degree assault. Police say he is not believed to be a student at Evergreen High School.
Evergreen High School sent an email to families about the lockdown around 1:15 p.m.
I want to make you aware of a Lockdown incident at our school that is due to police activity in the neighborhood. …Please know we take these situations very seriously, and the safety of our students is always a top priority.
Parents and students were reunited at the Evergreen District Office after a nearly two-hour lockdown.
“It’s nerve wracking, but I had to come up here in case anything was to happen,” Josh Sala, a local parent, said. “It’s fearful being a parent and not being able to get close to your children and being so far away. But there are a lot of cops here that made me feel a bit better.”
On Friday, Oct. 20, Evergreen High School will begin classes two hours later than usual, according to school administrators. Officials also say the school will have extra security, administrative staff, and counselors on campus.
In a letter to families Thursday night, Principal Danny Orrantia wrote:
We encourage you to check on your students to see if they need extra support. If you feel that your student does need support please reach out to me or another staff member and we will get your student the help they need.
Today’s incident was scary for all of our students, staff and families. I appreciate how everyone came together to keep our kids safe and how parents worked through the changes to the dismissal process. Thank you again for all your patience and cooperation today.
Police say they do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the public. They did not share any further details.
Stay with KOIN 6 as we receive more information.