Police respond to unfounded report of gun at Helena High

2013-03-25T13:30:00Z 2013-03-26T00:12:34Z Police respond to unfounded report of gun at Helena HighBy EDDIE GREGG Independent Record Helena Independent Record
March 25, 2013 1:30 pm  • 

Police responded to a false report of a person with a weapon at Helena High School at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, prompting a brief lockdown of the school.

“The school has been deemed safe and the details of the calls are being investigated at this time,” said Corey Livesay, captain of the Helena Police Department, while on the scene at about 1 p.m.

Livesay said that police believed the Helena High call was linked to another false report of a structure fire at 24 South Ewing. That false report was made at 12:05 p.m.

Livesay would not say what type of weapon was mentioned in the unfounded report.

“That’s part of the investigation,” he said. “Right now the source of those calls is being investigated.”

Livesay said in both cases authorities responded to the calls as if they were legitimate.

“Law enforcement responded to the high school and worked with the school officials to make sure there wasn’t a valid threat that was reported to the 911 center,” he said.

Helena High principal Steve Thennis notified parents of the situation Monday afternoon.

Anyone with information related to either call is asked to contact the Helena Police Department or to call Helena High at 324.2200.

In a phone interview at about 5 p.m., Livesay declined to release any new information because the investigation was still underway.

“Right now the details that connect them (the two calls) are under investigation, so we’re not releasing that,” he said.

Reporter Eddie Gregg: 447-4081 or eddie.gregg@helenair.com. Follow Eddie Gregg on Twitter: @IR_EddieGregg.

Copyright 2016 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. 5thgen
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    5thgen - March 28, 2013 9:10 pm
    Flamingliberal1: A simple question for you, as you are a parent of at least one student at Helena High School. Lets suppose a student is planning an attack on the school and the students. He/she brings some guns/explosives etc. into the school and stores them in his/her locker, intending to use them the next day. That evening one of the search dogs doing a search of the building, hits on his/her locker and the possible crisis is stopped. Wouldn't that as a parent make you very happy. As others have pointed out to you many times and you stand bull headed firm against common logic, and shout out about the kids rights to against a search for you states it violates their 4th amendment rights. I'm pretty sure that doesn't apply to a public school locker that they have reasonable cause based on a trained animals nose. Maybe a little preventative work would be a good thing. I'm sure your kids wouldn't be the ones bringing this in the school but as history has shown, others do. As a former parent of two kids who graduated from Helena High Schools, I wouldn't be a bit concerned about dogs doing searches, it sure beats body bags.
  2. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 28, 2013 2:47 pm
    I'm sorry, but I don't think a kid with a quarter ounce of weed in his backpack constitues a crisis, and I am unwilling to subject everyone's kids to a search by dogs in order to catch a dumb kid who may have brought some to school. Now if there is some sort of probable cause, such as the kid smelling of weed or exhibiting drugged behavior, then doing a targeted search of his belongings is appropriate. But where the line is crossed is where all the kids get subjected to the scrutiny of a dog search. And NEITHER scenario meets the definition of emergency, while the report of a suspect with a weapon absolutely would. Can you not see this distinction, or are you just being deliberately obtuse?
  3. TOwens
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    TOwens - March 28, 2013 10:27 am
    FL, I am a huge believer in the Constitution, and feel like our rights are always in some sort of jeopardy. However, your comment, "Look, my objection to the dogs searching the schools was the fact that all the kids will be subjected to searches in absence of probable cause." makes no sense to me. If dogs came in and walked around, and smelled 200 students/lockers but only hit on one locker which was then opened by the principal only to find some drugs or a weapon, that would mean one person/locker was searched. People that have nothing to hide will not have to face searches or any other infringement of their rights. It's the folks that have something stashed in their locker or backpack that would have to worry and in that case a search would be warranted. Stop splitting hairs. You want your kids safe, but oppose the plans to create a safer place. Look. Wake up. Some kids bring things to school they shouldn't, they always have. If there are means to sniff out the things that are dangerous to other kids, then they should take advantage and do it. If you don't want your kids facing searches, don't let them bring drugs and weapons to school and they will be just fine.
  4. kitten
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    kitten - March 28, 2013 6:05 am
    FL. You say bringing in a dog is wrong, there it is not a crisis, just probable cause. Sending dogs through the building is a protective, preventative measure. Everyone is concerned about safety, yet when safety measures are employed people then scream about their rights. It is public property, bringing dogs through the building periodically is a good idea. It just may prevent a crisis from occurring.
  5. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 27, 2013 3:34 pm
    Searchs can be done in school now without probable cause, only reasonable suspicion. And it is a public government funded school, not a private school. Still not sure how a dog sniffing around equates to a physical search. Anyone that has a problem with dogs sniffing around for drugs in school probably is bringing drugs into school. Look at it this way FL, if the dog hits on a locker of your child and there is no drugs, sue the school. Suing is what progressive liberals do best after all...
  6. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 27, 2013 1:51 pm
    Oh so you are into reactive vs. proactive approach. Incidentally, walking a dog down school aisles or in the parking lot is hardly by any stretch of the imagination a search. The search would be if the dog "hits" on something. Hate to break it to you but there ARE drugs brought into the school and on occasion, guns brought onto school grounds. Happened when I was a kid, still happens so I wouldn't consider having a dog not credible. You may want to refresh yourself with anyone of the Student/Parent Handbooks for each school. Students and their lockers may be searched based on reasonable suspicion. Lockers are school property, not students. Note, suspicion is not proof, suspicious behavior by itself allows a search.
  7. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 27, 2013 1:10 pm
    Look, my objection to the dogs searching the schools was the fact that all the kids will be subjected to searches in absence of probable cause. Read the Constitution of the United States, specifically the 4th amendment. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. I have no objection whatsoever to a targeted search in response to a crisis situation... which a report of an armed suspect IS. But searching every locker and car in the hope of finding contraband in the absence of probable cause? Not a crisis.
  8. kitten
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    kitten - March 27, 2013 7:24 am
    Relevant, I agree, it would have been counter productive to call parents before facts are known,...also good job by the students who ignored their text messages during class time. Just because the building is in lock down does not mean education stops. Doors are locked, students accounted for, and lessons are resumed. Job well done HHS.
  9. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 26, 2013 3:56 pm
    My objection is to non-targeted, random searches of students and their belongings, not a targeted search in response to a credible and immediate threat. I am surprised I have to explain this to you.
  10. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 26, 2013 2:13 pm
    But FL again, you've pointed out schools shouldn't be treated like prisons so.....
  11. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 26, 2013 2:12 pm
    And how many times does media, social or otherwise, in the interest of getting the word out quickly.....get the word out wrong? Sandy Hook was a classic example of that...
  12. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 26, 2013 12:56 pm
    Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I'm just supposed to be ok with this when I get a text from one of my teens indicating they are locked down and cops are swarming everywhere? And no word at all from the other one? And then the "All Clear," is given less than an hour later without locating any suspect? Have you actually BEEN to HHS? There is no way that the entire parking lot and school could have been thoroughly searched in such a short time, even if every single officer in the city was dispatched there. How exactly am I as a parent supposed to be confident that my children and those of over a thousand other families are safe?
  13. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 26, 2013 9:30 am
    What preventative measures would you suggest? Most measures that are available people are against because they don't want schools to turn into prisons.
  14. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - March 26, 2013 9:28 am
    Uh FL, haven't you said you don't want schools to be like prisons, that kids civil rights have to be protected (you're against using dogs in schools that can sniff out guns/drugs), are against having armed security in schools (albeit there already is one law enforcement officer already in each middle/high school) so you're expecting what?
  15. concernedprnt
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    concernedprnt - March 25, 2013 11:29 pm
    I too got a call that there were cops and swat surrounding HHS and I too freaked, especially when neither one of my children would answer their phone. However, I did receive an email and a text from the school after I was able to talk with my sons and learn that the lockdown was over and it seemed to be a false alarm. As much as I wanted to know what was going on I fought the urge to call the school or to jump in my car and drive the 6 blocks for I didn't want to take away from anyone that was trying to keep my children safe, I hope the school district never feels it is more important to notify me as a parent quickly then it is to secure my children that are at the scene. If a message had gone out immediately I can't imagine the chaos that would occur with panicked parents calling and showing up while the police are trying to assess the situation and possibly still trying to secure the building. There is no society, school, charter school etc. that is going to be able to 100% prevent this situation from happening so I'm not sure how we can now consider our school district to be only reactionary. Maybe it was the reaction that stopped this from being a tragic situation. Today I just felt fortunate that I had the capability to call & text their phones and find out within minutes they were okay...even if it took a few try's.
  16. Techman232
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    Techman232 - March 25, 2013 8:34 pm
    FL and sheepboy need to seek mental help and learn some self reliance instead of complaining about the free services they receive from some of the most overworked, under-appreciated people in the workforce. Instead of whining, perhaps you should say thank you. Well trained, qualified people responded, nobody was hurt, and everyone went home. You can't ask for a better scenario for a call like the one that came in today, and you should be glad that there are trained pro's ready to respond that take EVERY threat seriously. Get off your high horses and show some appreciation.
    Report Abuse
    USAFVET - March 25, 2013 8:20 pm
    Why did it take the school district 2 hours to send out a message? Thank goodness for social media - that's how we found out!
  18. imamom98
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    imamom98 - March 25, 2013 7:20 pm
    This was the first time I learned of a lock down while it was happening. I can appreciate the school and law enforcement for its quick and thourough response. Better to respond with the highest level of protection possible until they can check things out. I received an e-mail shortly after they lifted the lock down explaining it was hoax, but they will continue to investigate. Perhaps the schools need to communicate more clearly that they will lock down for any reported threat, so parents know not to freak out right away. First and foremost, they are going to take care of our kids.
  19. relevant
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    relevant - March 25, 2013 6:18 pm
    What would you have done, notasheep? Immediately contacted the parents of all 1,400 students, even before ensuring students' immediate safety? And what would you have said to the parents...that you had nothing but speculation and rumor to provide? Do you really advocate creating the very hysteria that copy-cat crazies will then inevitably use against these students? Do you really think that 1,400 students in a charter school would have been insulated from this? Please don't blame the schools for being "reactionary" in situations such as this. This world is full of nuts and apparently you are advocating turning our schools into prisons in an attempt to be "proactive". If you treat students like prisoners, that is exactly how they will begin to act. My appreciation goes out to the faculty and staff of HHS who are trying to (*gasp*) EDUCATE in the midst of all of this insanity.
  20. JIBJAB
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    JIBJAB - March 25, 2013 4:41 pm
    Wow notasheep really? It sound like the school acted accordingly. Locking kids in the rooms and staying quiet. I imagine its pretty hard to call every kids parent that goes to that school when there's a potential shooter on the loose. The simple truth is there is no right answer to this scenario and I think the school did what they had to do to stay safe and keep ALL the kids safe.
  21. FlamingLiberal1
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    FlamingLiberal1 - March 25, 2013 2:45 pm
    It seems to me this was over awfully quickly. I have kids there and received texts as this was going down. I know I'm not the only HHS parent who is freaked out by this, and is wondering how thorough the search could have been in the short time before the "ALL CLEAR" was called. I really want to go there and get them but I imagine it would just add to the chaos, so I've instucted the kids to be safe and will sit here and have a nervous breakdown now.
  22. notasheep
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    notasheep - March 25, 2013 1:58 pm
    Hmmm. I got a call from a friend, that the school was SURROUNDED by a SWAT TEAM.
    No photos here, no information. No call to a parent with a child in that school. There is something so wrong with this. I can't believe my family is safe when I'm being kept in the dark by the school. A charter school looks really good right now. Why is this district so reactionary? We must demand and require them to be Preventative, and not wait until there is injury or death. Within Montana, in comparison to what other schools this size have done to protect students is everything compared to having nothing changing at our high schools at all. It shouldn't be happening here but pretending that it never will is like them poking their heads in the sand.

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