SAFE SCHOOLS

Sounds similar to gunshots prompt evacuation at Sunburst Elementary School

Apr 10, 2023, 6:55 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm

LAYTON, Utah — Dozens of armed officers rushed into Sunburst Elementary School Monday after a report of a possible shooting. Thankfully, it wasn’t one, but parents and students were still shaken up.

“Obviously, people are shaken up. Kids are a bit emotional and shaken up by it, which we understand,” said Lt. Travis Lyman with the Layton City Police Department.

It was just before 1:30 p.m. when a Davis School District security member, who is at an off-site facility monitoring audio and security video at schools around the district, was alerted to suspicious sounds coming from the elementary school.

“This person reported that here at this school, they heard what they thought was a scuffle and may have been gunfire,” Lyman said.

Lyman said the district security member immediately told Layton dispatch about a possible shooting, sending the school into lockdown and all available law enforcement to the campus.

“I got a text from my wife who said there is about 10 cop cars and cops running in with giant rifles,” said Jon Evans, a father with two children at Sunburst Elementary. “I was at work and got here as soon as I could to see what’s going on.”

“I was at work reading something on my phone when the alert came through,” said Tyler Gapinski, who also has two children at the school. “It didn’t register at first, and then I realized what it was and my heart dropped, and I just ran out of the meeting and drove here as fast as I could.”

Within minutes, Layton police had over 25 officers at the school, and determined there was no threat.

“We couldn’t hear anything. Nobody was pointing to a threat or running from an area,” Lyman said. “Our officers encountered locked doors, lights off, kids hiding with their teachers — all of that just like they practiced, which we were impressed with.”

According to the Davis School District, the sounds of gunfire were two students who thought they were stuck in an elevator.

“Two students were in the elevator at the time and reported they hit the alarm after they thought the elevator had stopped. When the alarm engaged, a district security monitor at another location heard banging sounds coming from the elevator and called Layton City Police,” said Christopher Williams, director of communication and operations for the Davis School District.

KSL TV spoke with several parents outside of Sunburst Elementary Monday, who said they were grateful for how the district and law enforcement responded to the false threat.

“We’re just so grateful for the police presence. They were quick to be on the scene, and the principal made sure we knew what was going on,” Evans said.

“It was nerve-racking. I was a little scared,” Gapinski said. “But I was pretty impressed with the response from Layton City police, so I was pretty happy with that.”

Lyman said Monday’s response did reveal one area of concern he hopes the district can address, and that’s kids out at recess when a lockdown goes into place. He said the police department will work with the Davis School District to make sure students know what to do in that situation. Beyond that, he said he’s pleased with how the department responded, and praised the security personnel at the district for not hesitating when they felt there may be a threat.

“It doesn’t sound like they hesitated at all to call our dispatch center and report what they were hearing before they were able to confirm anything on site, which I think is appropriate. That’s the way it should happen. If they’re at all concerned about something, they should send us to look into it.”

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Sounds similar to gunshots prompt evacuation at Sunburst Elementary School