BOUNTIFUL, Utah (AP) – Police said two fast-acting Utah parents disarmed their 15-year-old son at a Utah junior high school Thursday after the teenager brought the family’s shotgun and handgun to school and fired a round into the ceiling of a classroom without injuring anyone.
Bountiful Police Chief Tom Ross said the boy’s mother and father became concerned about their son Thursday morning. They went to Mueller Park Junior High in the northern Utah city of Bountiful when they noticed a handgun and shotgun were missing from their home. Ross said the parents confronted their son and disarmed him.
Student Dan Fowers, 15, told The Associated Press that the teenager came into a classroom minutes after class began and fired one round from a shotgun into the ceiling before a woman grabbed the gun from the boy and told him to stop.
Fowers said the woman threw the gun on the ground and pulled the boy back into a hallway.
“It was really scary,” Fowers said. “The look on his face, it kind of looked like he wanted to do some damage.”
He said students in the classroom dove under their desks, as they’d been taught during lockdown drills, with some screaming and crying.
Previously, police said the parents disarmed their son in a hallway.
Bountiful Police Lt. Dave Edwards confirmed the shooting inside the classroom but said he did not yet know enough to confirm other details from Fowers’ account.
Police did not immediately release the teen’s identity. Ross would only say that the student was a 15-year-old white male. He did not have details about the parents’ specific concerns about their son, why the student brought the weapons to the school or what he intended.
Police had not been contacted before about the boy, Ross said.
As the parents intervened, a teacher called 911 and a police officer who happened to be down the street arrived and took custody of the student soon after, police said.
Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams praised the parents, saying “It’s all of our jobs to keep kids safe.”
Williams had no immediate information about the student or whether the student had any history of trouble or incidents at the school.
Ross said the student was in custody Thursday morning, but he did not know if was still being questioned at the school or in another location. He did not know if the student had been arrested on suspicion of any specific charges.
Ross said the student’s parents remained “with their son through the process.”
The school, about 11 miles north of Salt Lake City, remained on lockdown as more than 100 officers went room-by-room through the building to ensure it was safe. Police found a backpack in the hallway and wanted to ensure it did not contain any explosives, Ross said. It was unclear if the backpack belonged to the student.
Ross said no other student appears to have been involved.
Several hundred parents arrived and waited in the snow across the street from the school for word from police and administrators about when they could pick up their children. They later packed into a church across the street to sign up to take their children home.
School officials began allowing parents to take students home around 11 a.m.
Candy Beckstead said she was at a dentist’s office when her sister called to tell her that there was something going on at her son’s school.
She didn’t hear from her 8th-grade son but rushed to the school.
“I freaked out and went into panic mode,” she said. “Screaming, crying.”
The incident comes about two weeks after another Utah student stabbed five random high school classmates and himself before he was cornered by school workers, according to police.