Coral Springs, Florida: Over 3,000 students at J.P. Taravella High School at 10600 Riverside Drive in Coral Springs were placed on lockdown around 8am this morning as law enforcement officials performed a search for a firearm on campus.
Several hours later, the students were safely evacuated to a local city-owned gymnasium, where parents were allowed to take their children home. Kids who normally drive or walk to school were able to go home as well.
Detective Ernesto Bruna reported one person was detained and questioned about a “replica handgun”, but he didn’t provide any more details, as the investigation is still ongoing.
SWAT Officers from both the Coral Springs Police Department and Broward County Sheriff’s Office were armed with rifles as they guarded the school egresses. Fire department personnel were also on the scene. “We’re here assisting our police department as they search the school,” Mike Moser, division chief for Coral Springs Fire Rescue commented. Firemen passed out water to more than 100 parents waiting for news.
According to Sergeant Rich Rossman from Broward County Sheriff’s Department, they were in charge of securing the perimeter of the school while Coral Springs Police conducted the search through the school building. He said police were performing “a methodical, room-by-room search” of the school’s campus.
Inside the school, students were locked down in safe locations until the evacuation began. Ashley Soto, 18, said she was in the school’s band locker room with about 50 others. One student was said to have an asthma attack, but Soto said, “People were a little scared, but everyone helped everyone calm down.” It’s not known if that student was transported for medical care once the evacuation was underway.
Outside, parents waited nervously for any news from the school. Tracey Needleman, whose son is a freshman, said she got a text with the number for an informational hotline, but when she called it, the line was busy. “We’re just waiting for updates,” she said. “All of the kids are scared, but he’s [her son] okay. The kids are texting back and forth.”
Another parent, Maggie Carrero, said she heard of the incident and left work, making a 45-minute drive to the school. Unaware of what was going on, Carrero said, “I was crying and screaming in traffic.” A call to her son, a senior at the school, assured her he was safe. He said they never heard any gunfire, but were instructed to stay off their phones.
Terry Polk, whose daughter is a freshman, said, “It’s unsettling. It happens too much.” He said he wouldn’t feel comfortable until he saw his daughter.
This isn’t the first time police responded to the school this week. Earlier, a student posted on a social media platform that a shooting on campus was imminent. However, that student, when identified and questioned, admitted the post was just a hoax. There were no charges filed in that incident.
The investigation into this incident is still ongoing, and it’s not known what, if any, charges will be filed in this case. Police have taken one person into custody, but it’s not known if this was a student. A replica gun was also found on the property, but we have no information if this replica is connected to the person in custody. No shots were ever fired, and no students were reported to have any injuries.