Catalina Magnet HS placed on lockdown after report of a gun on campus

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Catalina Magnet HS placed on lockdown after report of a gun on campus

By Valerie Cavazos. CREATED Oct 1, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Frightening hours at Catalina Magnet High School after the school is placed in lockdown.

UPDATE: A judge released 17 year-old student, Tyler Renfro from jail Tuesday night to Pretrial Services, under a number of conditions.  

Among them, Renfro is prohibited from returning to Catalina High School.

He is due back in court October 21st.

Police are charging Renfro as an adult. They say a school employee spotted Renfro with a handgun on campus, advised administration, then lost sight of Renfro.

At 8:10, administrators called 9-1-1. Then immediately placed the school on lockdown.

45 Tucson Police officers, trained to deal with active shooters, swarmed the school. They scoured the entire campus inside and out.  

Sgt. Chris Widmer said, " We responded with that type of mindset today."

Students and staff knew this was no drill. TUSD spokesman Cara Rene said, "Classroom doors are shut. Windows are locked. Lights go off. Teachers stay with their students and keep everyone in place."

A teacher, Lisa Nabourschildree, who was off campus at the time,  received text messages from students and staff asking her what was going on. "So it's being relayed back to them -- stay calm. They have it under control. Because they're freaking out in there right now," she said.

And worried parents, kept at bay, heard about the lockdown from the media or texts from their children and waited for word from TUSD.

Shirley Morillo told Rene, "Yeah we're just concerned.  We're just worried that they're safe."
Rene responded, "It was a lockdown to make sure that nothing could happen. And just to keep those kids in place."

Three hours later, police detained three teenaged boys and escorted Renfro, in handcuffs, into a police car. While parents were given the all clear to reunite with their children.

Student Loius Torres said, "They were telling us not to look out the windows. Not look out the doors. And stay calm." Reporter Valerie Cavazos asked, "Did you feel safe?" Torres replied, "Yeah I did, actually."

Adilne Ramirez, a freshman, said, "I was pretty scared. I never knew something like this would happen."

Neither did her father, who criticized TUSD for not letting him know about the lockdown. Mike Rameriz said, "Horrible -- no communication -- I found out from my wife."

TUSD told KGUN9 their first priority is the students' safety.

Sgt. Widmer said Renfro got into an altercation with another student in the baseball dugout. He pulled out what appeared to be a handgun. But Sgt. Widmer says, "It turned out to be airsoft gun, not a handgun."  He said the student realized it wasn't  a gun and then Refro pulled out a knife and threatened the student. The third student detained was a witness.

Police found the airsoft gun off campus, but the knife was not located. Police located Renfro off school grounds. Sgt. Widmer said the victim, who was in a classroom during the lockdown, came forward at the end of the search and admitted he was involved. The third student detained left the school, but later returned. Police discovered he was a witness.

Renfro faces one count each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, interfering with an educational institution, and participating in a street gang while commiting aggravated assault.