TEWKSBURY (CBS) – A 14-year-old male freshman at Tewksbury High School has been arrested after the school was placed into lockdown Thursday morning over fears of a student with a gun making threats to shoot another student.
The student, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, is charged with threatening the use of a dangerous weapon and two counts of threatening to commit a crime and disturbing a school assembly, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement.
He allegedly communicated to a fellow student that he intended to shoot another student, and said he had a weapon, Ryan said.
“A threat was made by this student regarding his intent or his desire to shoot another student in school,” said Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan.
The other student reported the incident to school officials at approximately 7:40 a.m. A school resource officer then approached the 14-year-old male, a shelter in place order was activated and additional officers were called to the school.
Police searched the school and the 14-year-old after the threat was reported and found no firearm and no other threats, Ryan said.
The teenager was subsequently charged and transported to the Tewksbury Police Station where he remains in custody.
Students say they moved to the back of their locked classrooms, were told to remain calm and stayed away from windows.
“At first, everyone was like super scared,” freshman Sabtari Sabir told WBZ-TV.
Students said they were told to stay put and not go out into the hallway.
“We kind of squished together so that no one can see us from the classroom, so it looked like no one was there,” said Sabir.
The school day continued after the lockdown ended, but parents were allowed to pick up their children, forming a line that lasted over an hour.
For students who stayed at the school, “All the kids are in this room and they say the classes are going to continue, but they have to stay in the room and they have to be escorted to the bathroom or to lunch,” parent Cathy Blimberg said.
School officials emailed parents only about an incident and telling them a student was in custody. They defended the decision not to provide more information early on.
“It said ‘We have a situation. Kids are in shelter. They’re safe,'” said parent Anthony Savoia.
Sheehan, the police chief, said authorities had to filter through information as they received it.
“There was a lot of students that were reporting a lot of different things and we had to vet all of those things out and find out what in fact was real and what was perceived,” Sheehan said.
It was a threat taken seriously, and police said protocols were put into action to make sure everyone was safe.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Tewksbury Police at 978-851-7373.