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2 Santa Rosa teens arrested early Friday after tip about planned shooting at Montgomery High School

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 9-22-23
PIX Now Afternoon Edition 9-22-23 06:01

SANTA ROSA -- Police in Santa Rosa on Friday confirmed the early morning arrests of two teenagers with an altered firearm after receiving a tip about a potential planned shooting on the Montgomery High campus.

According to the release issued by the Santa Rosa Police Department, early Friday morning at approximately 12:30 a.m., department's communications center received a 9-1-1 call from an agent with STOP!t Solutions reporting a person sent an anonymous tip through the smartphone app regarding a potential shooting at Montgomery High School. 

The tip said that at least two students were planning to bring a firearm to the school Friday morning with the intention of harming an unidentified student who was possibly from a different school. The tip also said that the involved students were affiliated with a criminal street gang. 

The tipster provided enough information through the app that an astute Santa Rosa police officer immediately identified one of the involved students based on a previous interaction during which the student in question was arrested for possession of a concealed, loaded handgun in a city park on July 4 of this year. 

Because of the prior arrest, the student was on probation and is required to submit to warrantless search and seizure. Montgomery High School officials began working with police to verify student information and the location of their residence. 

At approximately 2:55 a.m., officers responded to the 1100 block of Fourth Street in Santa Rosa to contact the student in question and conduct a probation search. Both that student and a second Montgomery High School Student were located at the residence. During the search, officers found a loaded .38 Special revolver with an altered serial number in addition to several articles of clothing and accessories commonly associated with gang affiliation. 

Based on the officers' investigation, it was determined both juveniles were gang participants in possession of the firearm for the purpose of promoting or benefitting the criminal street gang. The students -- both 15-year-old Santa Rosa residents -- were arrested and booked into juvenile. The student who was already on probation for possessing a loaded and concealed firearm last July is facing seven felony charges including felony violation of juvenile probation, felony altering of a firearm serial number, felony possession of a firearm by a minor, felony possession of ammunition by a minor, felony possession of an unregistered firearm, felony participation in a criminal street gang and felony promotion or benefit for a criminal street gang. The second teen is facing same felony charges except felony violation of juvenile probation. 

School officials and police continued working into the early morning hours until both the school and police were confident the threat had been mitigated. The release said that it was "not believed there was ever a threat of an active shooter on campus" and authorities did not think there are any outstanding suspects related to the incident. 

Santa Rosa police thanked Santa Rosa City Schools and Montgomery High School officials for their swift response and cooperation and thanked the person who submitted the anonymous tip through the STOP!t app. 

"If it were not for that information, these students could have put many students and faculty members at risk by bringing a firearm onto a school campus," the release said. 

Montgomery High has faced a number of frightening and violent incidents in the past year. It is the same school that was shaken by tragedy earlier this year when a 16-year-old student was fatally stabbed on campus during a fight.

Family members told KPIX the teen who died was 16-year-old Jayden Pienta. The school has been dealing with issues of violence between students and weapons being brought onto campus since the fatal stabbing in March.

In May, the school was placed on lockdown and classes cancelled the following day after a student was reportedly seen on campus with a handgun.

Police said parents and students can contact the department, school administrators, or a trusted adult on campus with any information about a potential crime or campus safety concern. For emergencies, please dial 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, please call 707-528-5222. Additionally, the STOP!t app for smartphones allows for fast and anonymous reporting of incidents by students to their school administrators. 

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