MISSOULA - Sentinel High School in Missoula was briefly placed in lockdown prior to Wednesday's start of classes.
Principal Ryan Rettig states in a letter sent to parents that a report of an "air soft weapon" prompted the action.
The Missoula Police Department responded and it was determined "the school was not in danger" and the lockdown was lifted.
Missoula Police Department spokeswoman Lydia Arnold issued the following statement following the incident:
A student was located on Sentinel High School campus with a replica rifle. Officers located the student outside the school and determined the gun to be an all-black splatter gun with a scope. The student was cooperative with police. There is no threat to the public and based on initial investigation it appears the student was showing the splatter gun to friends before school and had no intention to cause harm to the school.
Rettig told MTN News that the incident began when a couple of students were showing an airsoft rifle to some friends.
A person driving by the high school alerted authorities and the Missoula Police quickly responded.
The gun was not pointed at anybody, according to Rettig there was no threat.
Aaron Rudolph provided the following short video of the incident:
An officer took the gun and Rettig says the student will face disciplinary action and has been removed from the school environment.
Missoula County Public Schools spokesperson Tyler Christensen issued the following statement:
Following a report of a weapon at Sentinel High School this morning, the school went into lockdown while police were called, in accordance with our safety protocols. Staff immediately investigated and, working with law enforcement, confirmed the school was not in danger and lifted the lockdown.
Sentinel Principal Ryan Rettig has shared this information with Sentinel families to ensure our families are informed of anything that may affect their students. We understand that any time our schools go into lockdown, that it may cause anxiety or unsettled feelings among our students. We want to assure families and the Missoula community that student safety is our primary concern.
The lockdown was lifted in under 10 minutes.
Below is the full letter sent by Rettig to parents:
Following a report of an air soft weapon at Sentinel High School this morning, the school went into lockdown while police were called. Staff immediately investigated and, working with law enforcement, confirmed the school was not in danger and lifted the lockdown.
We are sharing this information to ensure our families are informed of anything that may affect their students. We understand that any time our schools go into lockdown, that 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.
Sentinel High School
-information from Katie Miller included in this report