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Mountain Vista Middle School Placed on Lock-Down

The subject was observed jumping over a chain linked fence by a teacher on his way to the cafeteria for lunch duty. There were over 100 students in the cafeteria at the time of the incident.  The teacher, not sure if the young man was a student who belonged on campus or an intruder, began to approach the male to inquire what he was doing jumping over the fence.

As the teacher approached the suspicious male, the suspect entered the cafeteria and attempted to blend in with the eighth grade students. The teacher directed another eighth grade student to immediately advise Principal Denise Taylor that there was an intruder on campus. As Ms. Taylor was being informed of the intruder, she observed the teacher attempting to contact the suspicious male. Ms. Taylor immediately contacted the front office and ordered her campus be placed on lock down for the safety of the students and staff. The entire school responded, as practiced throughout the school year with their SRO, and followed all protocol.

The teacher was persistent in tracking down the suspicious male who realized he was being watched and fled out another door, leading onto the campus. At this point the teacher decided the male subject did not belong on campus. The teacher caught up with the male and requested he leave the campus. The male said he was going to and attempted to walk to the back of the campus. The teacher told the male he was not leaving through the back and attempted to escort the male to the front office. As the male was being asked to leave campus through the office, he jumped over the chain linked fence at the front of the school and fled across Mountain Vista Boulevard. The male subject, 17, was immediately apprehended by PCSO Deputies in the housing area across the street from the school.  The suspect was arrested and found to be in possession of a semi-automatic, fully loaded handgun with a chambered round.  He was referred and booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center charges with Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds, Juvenile in Possession of a Firearm, Trespassing and Incorrigible Juvenile. He remains in custody.

Mountain Vista Middle School SRO and PCSO Deputy Delcia Randal said,   “Due to the NUMEROUS lock down procedures practiced throughout the school year, Ms. Taylor was able to make a quick decision, without the direction of law enforcement and place her school on lock down. Ms. Taylor did a fantastic job ensuring the well-being of her staff and students and did not release the school from lock down status until I could confirm with PCSO that the suspects were in custody.”

Deputy Randall continued, “This lock down was ordered at one of the worst times possible, lunch time, when students are outside their classrooms in a less controlled environment, teachers in different locations and the School Resource Officer teaching at another campus. I firmly believe because of the school administration’s desire to work closely with me (the SRO) to train and prepare the staff and students and because of the attention, observation and persistence of Mr. Freeman the school PE Teacher and quick actions of School Principal Denise Taylor, at no time was the safety of any Mountain Vista student or staff member compromised. I applaud them for a job very well done!”

Murray and James were booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on 222 counts of Theft and 2 counts of Burglary. Both men are being held, awaiting determination of bond, in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center.

 

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Monday, 22 July 2024

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