OTTAWA, Kan. (KSNT) – Two Ottawa High School students were arrested Monday following an incident that caused two area schools to go on lockdown.
At 11:13 a.m. Monday, a school resource officer was notified of a possible weapon at Ottawa High School. Additional officers with the Ottawa Police Department responded to the school after the resource officer left to investigate a burglary at a nearby elementary school that resulted in three arrests.
According to police, initial information was that a student at the high school was seen with a handgun but was never located, then they learned he was on a school field trip nearby.
Lockdowns were issued at the high school and a nearby middle school as a precaution.
Officers located a backpack in an empty classroom, belonging to a student with a handgun inside. This led to the arrest of a 15-year-old male student and a 16-year-old male student, both from Ottawa, for criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm on school property, and defacing identifying marks on firearm. Police say both students were off school grounds when they were taken into custody and are currently being held in juvenile detention awaiting formal charges.
The lockdown was lifted just before noon.
Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler released the following statement Monday:
“The department engaged in a unified response with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to secure the school and conduct an investigation. Both departments routinely plan and train for such a response and today’s response mirrored those efforts. Our primary goals and objectives are ensuring the safety and security of the students and staff at Ottawa High School and Ottawa Middle School. During a fluid situation rife with unknown circumstances every action taken today was to prevent a tragic outcome that we see all too often in communities across this country. The prompt reporting and cooperation of the Ottawa High School Administrative staff aided us today in helping resolve this situation. Furthermore, this investigation will continue to determine how and why a weapon was introduced into school.”
Butler told parents that the safety of their children was their highest priority.