GREAT FALLS - It was a chaotic and scary day for many students, parents, and school staff in Great Falls, as an hours-long lockdown was ordered at CMR High School due to a perceived threat. Ultimately, police determined the incident that sparked the incident was a "benign object," and there was no threat or danger.
Just before 8 a.m., the CMR School Resource Officer, Detective Jesse Rosteck, was alerted to a potential threat to the school involving a student with a gun. Rosteck immediately placed the school in “lockdown” status. Students and staff were directed to secure themselves in classrooms and no one was allowed to enter or leave the building.
Several nearby schools - Sacajawea, Riverview, Valley View, North, and Skyline - implemented "shelter in place" procedures during the CMR lockdown as a precaution. The GFPD said at 11:43 a.m. that shelter in place had been lifted for those schools, and classes at those schools resumed their normal schedules.
Law enforcement officers from several agencies - including the Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, US Marshals Service, Montana Probation & Parole, Montana Highway Patrol, Customs & Border Protection, and the FBI - converged on the school and the surrounding area. Crews from Great Falls Fire Rescue and Great Falls Emergency Services staged, as a precaution, to administer medical care if needed.
At 11:39 a.m., Great Falls Public Schools posted: "CMR will be evacuating. Drivers/siblings only will be released to drive home. All walkers and bus riders will evacuate via bus to the Four Seasons in an orderly process. Parents/guardians will pick children up at the Four Seasons Arena. Parents must be listed on PowerSchool and bring an ID. Counselors are available to work with parents and students as needed."
All classes and activities at CMR were canceled for the rest of the day.
The GFPD said in a news release that the report of the potential threat came from a parent who said that during morning drop-off, they saw a student place a gun into a bag and walk into the school.
Detectives worked with the parent to review surveillance video and identified the situation in question.
The students involved were located within the school and were questioned regarding the report.
The GFPD said the detectives determined that the item seen by the reporting party was a "benign object" that could have been mistaken for the barrel of a gun, and there was no threat. Police did not state what the object was.
The students who were questioned were fully cooperative, have been cleared of any wrongdoing, and were released to their parents.