Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Four schools were locked down Thursday afternoon and a 12-year-old boy was arrested after it was reported he entered school with a handgun.

While it turned out the gun only shoots BBs, police agencies took no chances.

Del Norte County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Bill Steven said officers from Crescent City Police, the sheriff’s office and California Highway Patrol were dispatched to Castle Rock School just before 1 p.m. for a report that a juvenile had come onto the campus with a firearm. Since the school is in close proximity to Bess Maxwell School, Del Norte High School and Little School of the Redwoods preschool, all were locked down, Steven said.

“A 12-year-old boy brought in a very real-looking black BB pistol,” Steven said. “It did not have the orange cap (on the barrel) and looked like a semi-automatic weapon.”

Whether or not the child knew the gun was real, Steven said he made it appear to others that it was.

“He also made some death threats to anyone who might tell on him,” he said.

Steven said responding officers were able to learn the boy’s name and location and made entry into the classroom.

Steven said that with so many actual shooting incidents in U.S. schools, responding officers now have to find the threat and neutralize it.

“That’s what we did,” he said, noting in the process a classroom of kids and three adults were traumatized at the sudden entry of armed, yelling officers.

“It’s awful that we had to do that, but that’s the way it works these days. However, we were thanked later by the staff for what we did.”

Steven said as students were being ushered out of the room, the student with the BB gun left his backpack behind and attempted to leave with them but was pointed out to officers.

Steven located the BB gun in the backpack and the child was arrested. Del Norte Unified School District lifted the lockdown shortly afterward.

The incident remains under investigation.