UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at West High School, three students detained

Dec 13, 2021, 11:01 AM | Updated: 8:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY –– The lockdown at West High School was lifted Monday afternoon after it was put into effect Monday around 10:50 a.m.  According to Salt Lake City Police, three students have been detained as part of an on-going investigation involving a firearm.

Yándary Zavala Chatwin, Salt Lake City School District spokesperson, said in a statement, “West received word of a possible threat so the building is on lockdown. Salt Lake City Police Department officers are in the building right now working with West High administration to investigate credibility. Right now, students are safe, and classes are continuing.”

Natasha, who asked that her last name not be used, is junior at West High. She arrived to school late and found all the doors locked.

It’s hard to imagine something like that happening at your school. But when they wouldn’t let us inside I think it got more serious,” Natasha said. “It scared me a little bit because it’s like..sure, that could be a joke, but it also could be serious. Something could either happen to me or a student.”

“It angers me. It frustrates me. I left work. This is supposed to be a safe haven for children,” Phill Baker, a parent of West High Students said.

Baker’s two sons attend West High School. He found out about the lockdown when they texted him.

“We didn’t have things like this when I was growing up so it’s frustrating. It’s scary. It’s gut wrenching,” Baker said. “These things are traumatic. Whether it’s real or not real you need to take precautions when it comes to things like this.”

A Snapchat photo surfaced reportedly from West High School showing someone holding a gun with the words, “Inda Wild West,” written across the screen.

Snapchat uses geofences — virtual geographic boundaries, made by GPS or RFID technology, that allow the software to “know” when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area — to determine the location of photos taken. The user can then put the location on your screen, as this photo shows.

A Snapchat of a gun taken in West High School Monday morning.

This means that the photo shown was taken in the school or on school grounds as the location listed is informed by GPS.

During the investigation, police discovered a student had stolen a firearm from a family member and brought it to school. They did not mention if it was related to the snapchat circulating on social media.

“That’s absolutely the right thing to do. That is how the administration became aware of the threat is a student sharing a psot and that’s exactly what we need students to be doing and anyone who has any information to share what they know,” Chatwin said.

The three students involved have been identified and their parents/guardians have been contacted according to a statement from police.

One student was taken into custody at the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center where they will be referred to the 3rd District Juvenile Court for possible prosecution.

Another student was released to their parents and may face charges at a later date.

The third student is still being investigated for their involvement and it is not clear whether they will be released to their parents/guardians or sent to Salt Lake Valley Detention Center.

Once police had completed a thorough search of the campus and deemed it safe, the lockdown was lifted and classes were able to resume. The lockdown order was lifted around 2 p.m. Monday.

The weapon involved in this incident has not been located. This case continues to be investigated by police and they encourage anyone who comes across the firearm to not touch it and call 9-1-1.

Anyone with information on this case should call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 21-228434.

“We are really grateful for the support of our Salt Lake City Police Officers who are helping us to stay calm and helping to make sure our kids can continue to get their education and stay safe,” Chatwin said.

Earlier Monday, eight schools in the Box Elder School District moved classes online following alleged threats and social media posts.

Authorities believe those northern Utah threats are all hoaxes and police are talking with suspects. Bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed to Tremonton-area schools as a precaution.

Box Elder Co. schools moved online as police investigate potential threats

This article will be updated as new information is received.

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UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at West High School, three students detained