ASD: Student brought loaded gun and knife to Fire Lake Elementary

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 16:29
  • Fire Lake Elementary in Eagle River. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

A student brought a backpack containing a loaded handgun and a knife to Fire Lake Elementary School in Eagle River on Thursday, according to the Anchorage School District. There were no injuries and the gun was not discharged, according to a statement emailed to media Thursday afternoon by ASD communications director Alan Brown.

Brown said the male student’s classmates told their teacher they saw the weapons while on the school bus.

“The student in question was separated from the backpack and escorted to the office,” Brown wrote.

Brown said school staff contacted the Anchorage Police Department’s school resource officer.

“Inspection of the backpack revealed a knife and a loaded handgun,” he wrote.

The Anchorage Police Department is investigating the incident, according to spokesman MJ Thim, who said police were called at 10:25 a.m. He said that as of Thursday afternoon no arrests had been made, but the case remains under investigation.

Fire Lake houses about 404 Kindergarten through 6th grade students, according to the most recent district figures. The school also houses the Eagle River Elementary Optional program, which moved to Fire Lake this year due to the temporary closure of Eagle River Elementary due to earthquake damage.

Both APD and ASD praised the students who spoke up for coming forward quickly.

“We want to thank our staff for their swift and appropriate actions and highly commend the students who came forward,” said ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop. “These students’ actions were extremely brave and showed tremendous poise and quick thinking. Their actions are a perfect example of what we teach kids throughout our District to keep us all safe — if you see something, say something.”

Thim echoed Bishop’s statement.

“This investigation serves as an important reminder that if you see something suspicious, say something,” he wrote. “The students involved acted quickly when they learned about the threat and reported it immediately … We encourage all students to report any suspicious activity they witness to a trusted adult immediately.”

Here’s the district’s statement in its entirety:

The Anchorage School District and APD are investigating an incident today at Fire Lake Elementary where a student brought a loaded handgun and knife to school in a backpack.

No students or staff were injured, no gun was discharged, and the weapons were quickly safeguarded by the school staff once they learned of the potential threat.

Students who allegedly saw the weapons in the backpack on the morning bus ride immediately told their teacher at the beginning of the day, and the student in question was separated from the backpack and escorted to the office.

School administrators called the School Resource Officer from APD who immediately responded. Inspection of the backpack revealed a knife and a loaded handgun.

APD is currently investigating all the events related to the incident and will release additional information once complete.

ASD will continue to work closely with APD to take all appropriate actions to safeguard its students and staff across the District.

“We want to thank our staff for their swift and appropriate actions and highly commend the students who came forward. These students’ actions were extremely brave and showed tremendous poise and quick thinking. Their actions are a perfect example of what we teach kids throughout our District to keep us all safe — if you see something, say something.” – Dr. Deena Bishop, ASD Superintendent.

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