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Mesquite charter school tightens security after student brought gun on campus

Mesquite charter school tightens security after student brought gun on campus
Mesquite charter school tightens security after student brought gun on campus 02:24

MESQUITE - On Tuesday, students returned to school at The Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy, where counselors were on hand for anyone who needed it after a 16-year-old student brought a gun to school and was injured by police the day before. 

At 8:49 a.m. Monday, a school administrator made a 911 call about a person in an office with a firearm and what police called, "intent to harm."  

At 8:51 a.m., the first Mesquite police officer arrived on campus. Police said it was a swift response at a critical time, as other administrators kept the suspect calm.

"The administrators there did a fantastic job, literally putting their bodies between the student with a gun and the 700 or 800 other kids on campus," said Lt. Brandon Ricketts with the Mesquite Police Department. 

The school followed the standard response protocol, locking down the campus. Officers were able to isolate the suspect, and, while police said they tried to negotiate with him, three officers did discharge their weapons. The student suffered minor injuries to his lower legs, and no one else was injured. 

Police say the response is reflective of the lessons learned since Uvalde in 2022, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed.

"That is on our mind any time we respond to a school or a student with a gun or an active shooter situation," said Lt. Ricketts. "We don't want to echo that failure that law enforcement had." 

School officials also said Monday's event prompted some additional safety measures. They installed metal detectors at checkpoint entrances and are rerouting entry points to ensure that all students pass through them. They've also added more security officers on campus. 

But the main feeling in the community Tuesday was relief that a tragedy was avoided. 

"Everyone did their job yesterday, and no one else got hurt," said Lt. Ricketts.

The suspect's name is not being released because he's a minor. Police said he was released from the hospital and transferred to a juvenile detention facility. Police said that he walked through the doors Monday with the intent to harm.

Mesquite police said 19 shots were fired by officers and the suspect's wound was from either a grazing wound or shrapnel.

He's been charged with exhibition of a firearm, a 3rd degree felony, but will likely face additional charges. 

MPD said relevant body cam and CCTV from the school will be released early next week.

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