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Suspect arrested in connection with school gun threat investigation

3/2/2016

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

ANTHEM – Boulder Creek High School and multiple other schools in the immediate vicinity of the high school spent Monday afternoon under lockdown after a BCHS visitor reported seeing a man in the parking lot who possibly had a weapon. No one was hurt, and schools dismissed at their normal times after the lockdown was lifted. Former BCHS student Luis Barragan, 18, has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Law enforcement closed off Gavilan Peak Parkway in front of the high school during the investigation; traffic was also restricted heading north on Gavilan Peak at the Daisy Mountain Drive intersection. The lockdown was initiated at about 12 p.m. on Monday.

“MCSO has placed Boulder Creek High on lock down after witnesses saw a man leaving the school with a gun,” Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez posted on Twitter near noon on Feb. 29. “No shooter just protocol.”

Enriquez continued to post updates on the investigation as the afternoon went on. Students were dismissed at the usual time; law enforcement continued to restrict traffic and retained a barrier around the high school during dismissal.

Schools sent out messages to parents during the lockdown, updating them on the situation. After the lockdown was lifted, Deer Valley Unified School District posted more detailed information online.

“A visitor to campus believes she saw a person in the parking lot possibly in possession of a weapon,” DVUSD posted. “The visitor reported this to the office. Boulder Creek High School immediately went into lockdown and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputies responded quickly to the school. Anthem School and Gavilan Peak School were also put into lockdown as a precautionary measure.”

“Today, on the Boulder Creek campus, a visitor reported to the office that she saw a person in the parking lot, possibly in possession of a weapon,” BCHS principal Lauren Sheahan wrote in a Feb. 29 Facebook post shared by DVUSD. “Boulder Creek High School immediately went into lockdown and Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies responded quickly to the school.”

“Deputies secured the campus and allowed for a systematic release of students. Unfortunately, the safety precautions delayed parent pick-up of students. I thank parents for their patience during this situation,” Sheahan’s post continued. “After all students were released from campus, deputies swept every room of every building on campus. They feel confident that the suspicious person is not on our campus and that Boulder Creek High School is safe. School will resume tomorrow at our regular time. We are thankful for our close partnership with the first responders in our area, for our visitor who contacted our office, and for our administrators who reacted quickly to secure the campus.”

After students were dismissed from school, law enforcement continued to search for their person of interest in the investigation. On Monday evening, Deputy Enriquez put out a tweet saying that, “MCSO has Luis Barragan in custody (in) reference to the incident from Boulder Creek High from earlier today.” On Tuesday morning, Enriquez followed up this information with an additional tweet: “MCSO booked Luis Barragan early morning on felony charges, following Boulder Creek High incident from yesterday.”

Law enforcement and school administration encourage parents and students to report any potential threats to student safety. DVUSD offers an anonymous Safe Schools Hotline: (623) 376-3262; this hotline is available 24/7. This is not in any way a replacement for 911, but if you’ve witnessed something concerning at a local school and are not sure what to do, calling the hotline makes the district aware and they can take action as needed.

Deer Valley is encouraging any information on possible crimes or violent activity to be reported immediately, even if the information is merely a rumor,” the district states on DVUSD.org. “These calls can be made anonymously, as the district’s goals are to maintain safe, secure campuses. In addition, calls on suspected drug use, vandalism, or thefts are welcomed to help hold accountable those who commit criminal acts. When appropriate, information from the Safe Schools Hotline will be shared with local law enforcement. The hotline will be monitored throughout every school day, but should not be considered a replacement for 911. In an emergency or situation requiring immediate police action, (i.e., fire, crime in progress, etc.) a call should be made to 911 to make an immediate report to the proper authorities. Maintaining safe campuses requires the efforts of everyone in the district, including students, parents, educators, and support staff. Safety is an ongoing commitment that is possible only through the efforts of every member of the campus community. Your call could make the difference!”

BCHS principal Sheahan concluded her Feb. 29 Facebook update by thanking the community for their support in maintaining a safe school environment.

“We take school safety seriously at BCHS. Thank you for your support toward creating a safe, orderly, and caring environment at Boulder Creek High School,” Sheahan wrote.