Police officers arrested three Arizona parents as they tried to force their way into a school that police locked down after a gunman was seen trying to enter the campus, authorities said.
The Thompson Ranch Elementary School incident came about three months after hundreds of police officers in Uvalde, Texas waited 77 minutes before even trying to open classroom doors where a gunman killed 19 children.
The parents were arrested Friday as they tried to take their children from school to keep them safe, authorities said.
Police in El Mirage, a Phoenix suburb, used a taser to thwart two of them as they tried to help a man whose own pistol fell to the ground while he was in custody, authorities said.
No shots were fired at Thompson Ranch, the school was not breached, and no one was injured aside from a woman who was taken to a hospital to be treated for taser injuries inflicted by officers.
By the time the confrontations with the angry parents began, police had already confirmed the threat was gone, removed a suspicious package and planned to reunite the parents with the children, El Mirage Police Lieutenant Jimmy Chavez said.
Nonetheless, the school was still under lockdown, meaning that according to police and school district protocols, no one was allowed on campus.
This prompted angry parents to demand that they be allowed inside the school so they could find their children and began confronting police, authorities said.
Chavez sympathized with the parents but remained consistent with how the police handled the situation.
“Several parents continued their excitement and made multiple statements that they were coming to campus to protect their children,” he said. “As a parent, I understand that philosophy. However, there are procedures that law enforcement and the school have followed.”
Chavez said a man began pushing to get past officers and when police arrested him, a man and woman came to his aid, who also confronted officers. Officers used a taser to subdue them, and they too were arrested. As the first man was arrested, a gun fell to the ground.
The armed parent is hit with a gunload because guns are not allowed on school property, along with disorderly conduct. The two parents, who were tasered, are facing unspecified charges. The woman was taken to a hospital by ambulance, Chavez said.
El Mirage in Maricopa County is home to approximately 35,800 residents and is located approximately 15 miles from downtown Phoenix. Thompson Ranch Elementary is a K-8 school that started the new school year on August 3, according to its website.
The incident there began around 10:30 a.m. Friday when school officials called police to report that a man, possibly armed, was attempting to enter a locked school building. Unable to get inside, he was evicted by associates before El Mirage police and two other agencies got to the school, Chavez said.
Officials searching the school to determine if there was a security threat spotted a suspicious package and prompted them to call a bomb squad and move the children to another part of campus, Chavez said.
Parents then showed up and confrontations with the officers began.
Chavez explained, “Parents need to understand that when the school is in lockdown and law enforcement is on site, no one is allowed on campus.”
Chavez said school suspension procedures between the school district and law enforcement “worked to the max.”
Police later found the man who started the lockdown. He was examined by mental health professionals late Friday and a police statement said charges were pending.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/08/14/az-parents-try-to-enter-locked-down-school-2-months-after-uvalde/ AZ parents try to enter the locked school 2 months after Uvalde