Cell phone mistaken for gun prompts evacuation at Tony Hillerman

Education

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department has determined that following an investigation and clearing Tony Hillerman Middle School, a gun was not brought to the school’s campus on Thursday morning. A large police presence was at the school after a teacher reported what she thought was a student with a gun enter the building around 7:45 a.m.

APD reports that after reviewing video surveillance and obtaining statements from students it was determined that three students were speaking in a courtyard when one student pointed a cell phone at the other two as though he was holding a gun. Police say a teacher saw the encounter and believed the student was holding a gun.

The school was then put on lockdown and authorities from several agencies responded to the incident. APD states that a gun-detection dog was also sent through the school to confirm no weapons were on campus.

According to authorities, there was a separate incident on Wednesday involving threats made by a student over social media. Police confirm that was a separate incident and the teens don’t attend Tony Hillerman. Investigators are following up on that separate incident.

Tony Hillerman was evacuated class by class as students were taken to Volcano Vista High School where parents were then asked to pick them up. Students and staff are all now all gone from campus and are reported as safe.

Albuquerque Public Schools reports that the shelter in place for Tierra Antigua Elementary School and Volcano Vista High School has been lifted and that all Tony Hillerman students have since gone home. The Albuquerque Police Department stated that there were no reports of shots fired.


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KRQE News 13 spoke with individuals who rushed over to the school to pick up their children after hearing of the incident. “I’m terrified right now, absolutely. It’s a scary situation,” said parent Debbie Gonzales.

“I’m just scared. I know they’re going to be okay, I just want them out,” said sibling Marissa Martinez. APS and APD say this kind of response may look large but say it’s normal for a call of this nature. APS says the school was supposed to have an active shooter drill Thursday morning but this incident was unrelated.

APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, APS Police, Rio Rancho Police, and New Mexico State Police responded to the scene Thursday.


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