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Student with gun arrested near DeGrazia Elementary

Deputies say student used a gun to make threats
Posted at 9:08 AM, Mar 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 21:50:45-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — An elementary school student in Tucson was arrested Tuesday for having a gun at school and threatening three students.

According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, it happened around 1 p.m. at DeGrazia Elementary School.

Following the incident, the school activated their Shelter In Place emergency procedure and called 9-1-1. Students and staff remained safe in classrooms and no one was hurt.

Patrol deputies and a school resource deputy responded. Within minutes, the student was apprehended off campus, and the emergency response was lifted.

As school let out for the day on Thursday parents like Nichole Rooney were absorbing the news that the sort of threat that touched schools elsewhere had come home to them.

She says she is, "Sad, scared, nervous, shocked. I couldn't believe it was happening at our DeGrazia. It's hard to think that this is happening so close to home, where my kids go. It's our home school you know. We have a lot of pride in our school and it's here in Arizona."

A tip to KGUN9 was the first news of the incident other than messages the school district shared with parents. Later the district, and the Pima County Sheriff's Department confirmed some details.

The Sheriff's department says the student with the gun is 12 years old. He's a sixth grader at the school.

Marana School District says DeGrazia Elementary went into lockdown when a student brought a gun to campus, used it to threaten three students and then ran off the campus grounds.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department arrested the boy and charged him with three counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of kidnapping. A kidnapping charge does not always mean taking someone away, it can be used any time someone illegally takes someone's ability to move freely.

Charges include two counts of gun theft, a count of weapons misconduct and a count of Interfering with an educational institution.

The student is still in a juvenile detention facility.

DeGrazia Elementary is part of the Marana Unified School District and has students between kindergarten and 6th grade.

Marana Unified School District released the following statement Thursday:

As part of the Marana Unified School District’s commitment to keep the media and community informed of issues related to any MUSD school, please be advised of the following information: On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, DeGrazia Elementary School administration contacted 911 and activated their Shelter In Place emergency procedure in response to an incident where a student reportedly threatened three other students at school with a firearm. The student was then seen leaving the campus. Following our standard safety protocol, school Administration immediately contacted 911 and activated their emergency response procedure. Students and staff remained safely in their classroom and no student was injured. Within minutes, the quick and thorough response by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department led to the student being apprehended off campus, and the school was released from their emergency response. The Shelter In Place, as directed by Pima County Sheriff’s Department, lasted approximately five minutes and the school day continued on a normal schedule. Law Enforcement agencies and the Marana Unified School District take safety concerns and threats very seriously. Threats and threatening behavior result in serious consequences aligned with the District discipline matrix and Arizona Criminal Law. This morning we learned that the active criminal investigation has led to the arrest of this student. In order to abide by all required laws and ensure the rights of all involved, the Marana Unified School District is unable to share more specific information about the incident which could compromise or negatively impact the criminal case or violate strict privacy laws. We can, however, communicate that the arrested student is no longer enrolled in the Marana district. The day of the incident parents of students directly involved were contacted and all DeGrazia parents were informed of the activation of the school’s emergency response, as directed by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Marana Unified School District