Abbotsford, BC (With files from CTV/CKNW/Abby News/Star FM) –December 4 UPDATE : Four 17-year-olds are facing serious charges after a gun scare forced several Abbotsford schools to go on lockdown Thursday.
Police said the startling incident began when a high school student contacted them and reported four classmates had approached his home armed and tried to start a fight.
The group then left in the direction of Robert Bateman Secondary School.
The police response was swift and thorough, with 30 officers – including Emergency Response Team members – locking nearby elementary and secondary schools.
“We’re talking lunchtime and students trying to start a fight with a firearm. We can’t take any chances,” Const. Ian MacDonald said.
“We believed there was a real threat and that that threat came in the form of a handgun or firearm.”
The largest police presence was at Robert Bateman Secondary, where students were forced to stay in class and anxious parents forced to wait outside as officers went room-to-room looking for suspects.
“The police were surrounding the school. It was not a good feeling,” parent Rob Roddick told CTV News.
Police said the other schools were locked down as a precaution, and only for a brief time.
The lockdown at Robert Bateman lasted three hours. It was lifted after police managed to find and arrest four suspects, none of whom can be identified because of their age, inside.
MacDonald said the teenagers are facing charges related to weapon possession and uttering threats.
“The incident they were involved in was a very serious crime,” MacDonald said.
On Friday, officials assured students and parents it was back to business as usual at the school, though some teenagers told CTV News several of their classmates absent.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Sarah MacDonald
ORIGINAL STORY – Serious drama surrounding a number of Abbotsford Schools (Clayburn, Bateman,Thomas Swift, Sandy Hill and Margaret Stenersen) this afternoon. Around 2PM, it appeared that one student was baited by a small number of other students, to get into an altercation outside of Robert Bateman School.
Abby PD said this was as the result of disturbance at a nearby residence. About an hour later, APD posted on Facebook that Clayburn Middle School was released from lockdown and the suspects involved have been taken into custody.
APD Const. Ian MacDonald says that four men are in custody.
Shortly before 4PM, Abby PD (on Facebook) thanked all staff, students and parents for their cooperation.. All schools out of lockdown.
Abbotsford News reported :
Robert Bateman Secondary, in east Abbotsford near Old Clayburn Road, was under lockdown until about 2:30 p.m. today following a police incident in the area.
The neighbouring Clayburn middle school was also on lockdown, and nearby Sandy Hill, Dr. T.A. Swift, and Margaret Stenersen elementaries were given shelter-in-place orders.
Police said media the situation began when a young man living in a home the area of Old Clayburn Road and Bulkley Street was paid a visit by three or four other young men, possibly looking to goad him into a fight. The resident then called 911, telling police the group may have been heading in the direction of Bateman.
“We don’t want these young men who were trying to create havoc and mayhem going into the schools,” said Const. Ian MacDonald of the APD.
Police were stationed surrounding Bateman and Clayburn Middle. Police cars, including undercover vehicles, filled the area, and police patrolled school grounds. Parents in the area lined the streets beside the schools, waiting to find out more news.
MacDonald said “an abundance of precaution” led to the schools being placed on lockdown. He addressed parents outside of the school and asked them to “just be patient” as they waited for the situation to resolve.
Signs at the scene indicated a “Code Red” lockdown was in place, which is called when there is an “immediate and imminent threat to the school building population…most commonly implemented when the building has an intruder,” according to the school district.
At about 2:30 p.m., police reported that all suspects were in custody.