NewsMissoula County


Missoula high school locks down, quickly resumes classes

Sentinel parking lot
Sentinel parking lot
Lydia Arnold
Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 10:19:13-04

MISSOULA - Missoula's Sentinel High School went into lockdown Wednesday morning due to a potential gun threat.

Officials say the incident started with a student showing a black airsoft rifle to his friends before class.

The school worked with authorities and determined within minutes there was no credible threat.

A student was apprehended and "removed from the school environment," according to Principal Ryan Rettig.

Aaron Rudolph provided the following short video of the incident:

RAW VIDEO: Lockdown at Sentinel High School

Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold said the School Resource Officer is to thank for quick action.

"They were able to initiate the lockdown. They have connections with staff, so it's a great example of how having an officer at a school can make time count."

Principal Rettig added, "it was within probably one minute that kids were safely in classrooms."

Arnold says a bystander called MPD Wednesday morning after seeing a student with what looked like an assault rifle.

Lydia Arnold
Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold

The school went under lockdown for about eight minutes.

The lockdown was lifted when officials determined the gun, was actually an all-black splatter gun, with a scope.

"There was no use of force used, there was no actual threat to the school or those on the school campus," Arnold said.

Rettig says the student was removed from school, and will undergo an intake process when he returns.

Sentinel parking lot
An incident in the Sentinel High School parking lot prompted a brief lockdown on March 30, 2022.

"We understand that these types of situations can bring anxiety and unsettled feeling amongst our students. But we quickly created a safe environment."

Arnold also said she wants to thank the person that called in.

Rettig sent the following letter to Sentinel families on Wednesday afternoon:

Sentinel families:

This message is to follow up on a previous message sent to you this morning regarding a brief lockdown at Sentinel High School and to provide a little more information.

The school received a report of a weapon at 8:40 A.M. and went into immediate lockdown while police were called. This is done in accordance with our District safety protocols. Staff worked with law enforcement to investigate and quickly confirmed the school was not in danger. There was no threat made to any individuals or to the school community. The lockdown was lifted at about 8:50 A.M. and the school day resumed as normal.

We want to make sure our families are informed of anything that may affect their students. We understand that any time our schools go into lockdown it may cause anxiety or unsettled feelings among our students. Please be assured that student safety is our primary concern.

Thank you for your attention.

Ryan Rettig


Sentinel High School