Man walks into West High School, confronts resource officer
SALT LAKE CITY — Students eating breakfast Monday morning were disrupted when a man let himself into the school and charged at a school resource officer.
Javier Mendez, 15, said his typical morning inside the West High School cafeteria was disrupted suddenly Monday when a man walked inside. School resource officers were alerted to his presence.
“The cop came downstairs, and he (the man) started swinging and stuff,” Mendez recalled. “Kids got concerned and scared.”
Several cellphone videos of the incident quickly spread through social media to students.
“It’s dangerous,” said Cameron Haskins, 17. “It could have been a kid as much as it could have been an officer.”
The man, later identified as Horacio Gaucine, 26, can be seen in one video charging at an officer with his fists raised. He’s later seen swinging his jacket at the officer before charging again.
Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said a second officer soon arrived, and both were able to get Gaucine outside without anyone getting hurt.
“This person was aggressive, (and) acting violent,” Wilking said. “Fortunately, our officers were able to neutralize the situation and get the individual to leave the school.”
Gaucine was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and assaulting an officer.
Some students, however, were still left with questions.
“It was crazy because it was just like a regular morning. People were eating breakfast and then the guy came in,” said Freddie Perrera, 17. “Especially with everything going on, like, with the school shootings and all that. It’s just scary that anyone can walk in.”
A Salt Lake City School District spokeswoman told KSL that while the district recently made efforts to lock elementary schools and only allow entry by a security camera, it’s much harder to do that at high schools. She explained that more buildings are now being locked at high schools during the school day, but they can’t do that with all of them because many are widely used throughout the day.
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