Police release timeline of events in Canyon View High gun threat, assault

Mar 3, 2023, 5:32 PM
FILE: Canyon View High School in Cedar City, Utah....
FILE: Canyon View High School in Cedar City, Utah.

CEDAR CITY, Utah — The Cedar City Police Department has released a timeline of events related to an assault and possible gun threat at Canyon View High School earlier this week.

The details were shared in an updated press release shared Friday afternoon.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday, a student entered the school resource officer’s office to report that he saw a teen, whom he knew, drive out of the school parking lot between 12:20 and 12:30 p.m.

“The student said that it looked like the juvenile was pointing a gun at him as the juvenile drove away, but it was difficult to be sure,” read a Friday afternoon press release from the Cedar City Police Department.

Parents outraged over district response to school gun incident

According to the release, the student told officers he did not want to be involved in the investigation further. The school resource officer — identified as Officer Carpenter — then went out into the parking lot to see if the teen suspect was still there, but he was not.

Carpenter started an investigation with the minimal information he received from the student. Police said he looked to see if the incident was captured on school surveillance video, but it was not.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Monday, as school was wrapping up, police said two students walked into Carpenter’s office and told him a different student had been assaulted in the parking lot.

That student was located in the parking lot by Carpenter, according to the release, and Principal Dennis Heaton was informed of what had occurred.

“The student told Officer Carpenter that a juvenile suspect came into the parking lot, struck him, and then left,” the release stated.

Police said it was determined that the juvenile suspect was likely the same individual from the alleged firearm brandishing incident. A plan was then made to talk to the juvenile suspect and his parent the next morning.

“This was a mutual agreement for all involved parties that included a discussion between the principal, the SRO and the victim’s mother.”

At approximately 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Carpenter obtained physical evidence that the teen accused of brandishing a gun in the school parking lot may be in possession of a firearm.

A few hours later, between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m., the student who reported the firearm brandishing incident contacted Carpenter and said he would provide more details about what happened.

“At this time, officers had already been surveilling the juvenile suspect’s residence and were watching it. His vehicle was in the parking lot and intelligence gathered, gave them the confidence that he was inside the residence,” the release stated.

Work was then done to obtain a search warrant for the teen’s residence. While this was going on, police said there was increased law enforcement presence at Canyon View High School.

Once the warrant was approved, the Iron Metro SWAT team approached the residence at approximately 12:30 p.m. but did not make contact as police learned the teen had shared threats on social media.

“Due to the threats and the close proximity of the suspect to Fiddler’s Elementary School, Canyon View Middle School, and Canyon View High School, the schools were placed on lockdown,” the release stated.

At approximately 1:05 p.m., as the SWAT team was approaching the residence in question, the suspect emerged. He was then taken into custody. Following the arrest, the lockdown protocol at the nearby schools was lifted.

Cedar City police went on to explain their thoughts about student safety at Canyon View High School as the investigation unfolded:

There was no belief, either by law enforcement or school officials that there was an active threat to students on Monday to necessitate a lockdown, especially with the lack of evidence and vagueness of the complaint from the uncooperative juvenile. Likewise, there was no belief that there was an active threat to students on Tuesday, to necessitate a lockdown, especially because law enforcement had the suspect under surveillance before school began all the way up until his arrest.

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Police release timeline of events in Canyon View High gun threat, assault