Two people were taken into police custody and charges are pending after Northfield High School in the Central Park neighborhood was placed under lockdown Thursday morning due to reports of a “suspicious occurrence,” according to Denver Police.
DPD Chief Paul M. Pazen said a student at the school alerted officials to a “potential threat” and in “three minutes” police, the sheriff’s department and Denver Public School’s safety team arrived at the scene.
“Most important information we can share right now is that all the kids at Northfield campus… are safe,” Pazen said. “We want to commend a student who saw something suspicious…and advised the campus security team.”
At around 10 a.m., the school said the “incident” was confined to the gym building and law enforcement officers were “clearing students out of that building safely.”
Police arrested the suspect, who had brought what appeared to be a paintball gun to school, said Pazen. Later in the morning, a second suspect was arrested, according to DPD.
Right before 11 a.m., the school announced that the lockdown had been cleared. All students and teachers were released early. School officials said parents can reunite with their children at 4937 Dallas Street, NE DPS Bus Terminal.
Juniors Jackson Garofoli and Vicente Rodriguez were running late to class this morning and were stopped heading into Building 2.
“We both had 7th period off and we were running late to class,” Garofoli said.
Rodriguez added, “As soon as we got here we couldn’t go inside the building. They said there were cops all over the campus. They told us to go back to our cars.”
On Wednesday, DPS said more uniformed officers would be present across the district through the end of the 2021-2022 school year. DPS Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero applauded officials’ response time to the situation.
“We had close to 2,000 students on this campus,” Marrero said. “Our response time, one touch of a button and we were able to secure this campus that has six buildings. Happy that it was not a real situation but if this was a drill, this was the drill to have.”
Both Garofoli and Rodriguez said they were on high alert, since the incident comes two days after an 18-year-old shooter opened fire at an elementary school killing 19 children and 2 adults in Uvalde, TX.
“It definitely raises concerns,” Garofoli said. “What happened in Texas earlier this week was really a tragedy and really sad.”
Rodriguez continued, “[The school] handled it well. I like how they had a lot of cops and a lot of people.”
Today was supposed to mark the end of the school year for students. School officials said the school will be closed for the remainder of the day.
“It was going to be our last day and this happened. The extra day won’t hurt,” Rodriguez said.
This story is breaking and will be updated.