School Lockdowns: Police say grandfather threatened a mass shooting

CREATED Feb. 1, 2013

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  • A woman ran into Hollinger Elementary School with her 6 year old granddaughter claiming her husband planned a mass shooting at the school and Wakefield Middle School. Video by 1041kqth.com

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Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Schools are on edge these days -- for good reason. Tucson police are seeing a rise of threats made against students, sometimes leading to lockdowns, arrests, and seizures of deadly weapons.

Police and principals can no longer dismiss threats in any form. So it's no longer rare to see schools in lockdown and police swarming campuses.

This week alone, Tucson Police investigated threats made against students at three schools.

At 8:40 on Friday, Hollinger Elementary is placed in lockdown. A threat is made that police say the principal had to take seriously. A woman ran into the school with her 6 year old granddaughter claiming her husband planned a mass shooting.

Sgt. Chris Widmer told KGUN9, "The grandfather made a comment to the fact that he was going to kill her, the granddaughter, as well as harm and kill people at Hollinger Elementary School."

That put Hollinger in lockdown, but it wasn't the only one. Wakefield Middle School is located about 30 yards from the couple's home and the grandmother told police it was a target as well.

Police first searched the schools and then the couple's home. "And once we knew that we had him detained, the lockdown was lifted," said Sgt. Widmer.

Friday's threat is the second in just two days. Tucson Police arrested two Flowing Wells High school students after they threatened to "shoot up" the school. A parent notified police that her son posted the threats on Facebook.

Sgt. Widmer says TPD is seeing a rise in threats against schools, because more people are coming forward to report them.

Friday's report of a threat didn't end with an arrest. Police are still trying to figure out if the grandmother's claim is true. KGUN9 OYS Valerie Cavazos spoke briefly spoke with the grandfather and his daughter -- off camera. Both say he did not make those threats. So police say it's a he-said, she said scenario at this point.

Police say the couple did get into a fight last night and to avoid another volatile situation, the grandmother is at a shelter and the granddaughter is in CPS custody.

Police say the grandfather had guns in the home, but he willingly handed them over to police.  Although police diffused Friday's shooting threat, the investigation is continuing.