SHHS student arrested after allegedly bringing handgun to school


January 29, 2020

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday morning, Jan. 28, after he allegedly brought a firearm to school at Sweet Home High School.

According to a Police Department statement, at approximately 8:44 a.m., Sweet Home Police officers responded to the school after staff informed officers and detectives that a student had reported concerns regarding another student.

The School Resource Officer, school administration, and other SHPD personnel investigated the situation. They determined a 15-year-old male student, whom Police Chief Jeff Lynn declined to name, had brought a gun, which he described as “derringer-style,” to school and showed other students. The witnesses reported that the student stated an intent to use the firearm on another student.

Sweet Home School District staff initiated a lockdown at the high school. The Sweet Home Junior High School and the Boys and Girls Club implemented lock-outs.

Officers and school staff were able to locate the 15-year-old suspect in a high school classroom after the lockdown was initiated, police said.

That boy was detained without incident at about 9:26 a.m. and subsequently taken into custody on criminal charges.

Charges include possession of a firearm in a public building, unlawful possession of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon. The suspect will be lodged at the Linn-Benton Juvenile Detention Center, police.

With information from other students, officers were able to locate a small loaded handgun. The firearm was seized by officers and removed from school property, police said.

School administration issued updates to the public via social media. After further investigation to ensure that the students and staff were safe, the lockdown was lifted, police said.

“The safety of students is of utmost importance to the Sweet Home Police Department and Sweet Home School administration,” Lynn said. “Any and all threats received by the Sweet Home Police Department are taken seriously. We thank the courageous students who stepped forward with information.”

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“The system worked,” said Supt. Tom Yahraes. “The students knew to do the right thing. The school went into lockdown quickly. The police responded quickly.”

Thanks to the procedures, the police and school officials were able to investigate and take action quickly, Yahraes said.

“Special thanks to the students who provided the school information,” Yahraes said. “We're proud of them, their actions and their courage. It's a sad day. We hope the apprehended person gets the care they need.”

Yahraes said the district will have a heightened level of law enforcement presence out of an abundance of caution. School counselors are ready to work with students experiencing anxiety as a result of the incident.

“We will keep it (going) till it's no longer needed, we suspect till the end of the week,” he said.

“We're going to just have an additional presence in the area and help put parents and students at ease,” Lynn said. “There's no indication of additional threat, (but) we know just how traumatic this type of incident can be on both students and staff. We just want to have the additional presence to support them.”

“Officers have spoken with many witnesses in this case, but anyone with further information is encouraged to call the Sweet Home Police Department to speak with our detectives,” Lynn said. Police may be reached at (541) 367-5181.


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