Red Deer RCMP said it was fortunate that a threat to shoot students at a local high school did not become an act, but they still responded preparing for the worst.
“We treat any threat like this credibly,” RCMP Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said on Thursday. “We put all of our resources into it. The RCMP are happy to say in the end there was nobody hurt and no threat materialized.”
Police were called to Hunting Hills High School, at 150 Lockwood Ave., just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday to a reported threat against several students. An anonymous note left on a desk at the school threatened students.
Student witnesses told the Red Deer Advocate that the threat was to shoot students in the school.
Knelsen said the note did not name individual students threatened.
During the police investigation into the threat, the school was not locked down and students were allowed to go about their routine. Knelsen said it is the school’s responsibility to initiate a lockdown.
“Those decisions are always done based on context and in consultation with the RCMP and that’s what happened Wednesday,” said Bruce Buruma, Red Deer Public School District community relations and RDPSD Foundation director.
The school was passively evacuated with police officers monitoring the usual dismissal process, but actively preventing people from re-entering the school and encouraging the last few students left behind to leave immediately.
As students left the school, they saw numerous police vehicles and officers all around.
Police contained the scene with police vehicles stationed near all of the school’s exits, as well as the nearby Collicutt Centre. Uniformed officers patrolled inside the school while others monitored the crowds of students as they left.
Extracurricular activities planned for the evening were cancelled.
Many students leaving the school were unaware of the reason for the police presence.
With re-entry denied, officers began a thorough search of the school. Searching in groups, they went room by room looking for any potential threat.
No weapons were found and the threat never materialized.
“The search was very comprehensive,” said Knelsen. “It was conducted by several RCMP officers and two police dog service teams. RCMP cleared the school and no weapons or suspects were found. Nothing dangerous to the students was located.”
A tweet from the school’s Twitter account sent out at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday said, “Thank you to our students, staff and the RCMP for their co-operation and diligence during a challenging afternoon.”
The police investigation continues. No charges have been laid.
Hunting Hills High School has more than 1,400 students and 125 staff members. Students were off Thursday, the start of Easter break.
Anyone with information that may assist police in this investigation is asked to call Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or report it online at www.tipsubmit.com.