Report of shots fired near elementary school prompts school lock-out

Three Falls Elementary School, Hurricane, Utah | St. George News stock image

HURRICANE — A Hurricane elementary school went into lock-out Wednesday after a school employee reported hearing gun shots fired.

At approximately 11 a.m., officers responded to Three Falls Elementary School, 789 S. 100 West, and the surrounding area on a report of a weapons offense, Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said.

An employee of the elementary school was outside of the school when they heard what they believed sounded like gun shots being fired just east of the school, Buell said. The report quickly prompted authorities into action.

“The school went into Lock-Out, which means all exterior doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter the school,” Buell said. “During this incident, there was no threat at the school.”

Officers responded to the area and patrolled the perimeter around the school but did not locate anyone shooting. The fields, residential areas and streets surrounding the school were checked by multiple officers, Buell said, who did not locate any evidence of shots being fired.

“We spoke with several individuals who did not hear or see anything suspicious,” he said. “Officers were told by a resident that a motorcycle had backfired in the same area at the same time.”

Following the lock-out, the Washington County School District sent out the following email to the parents of the Three Falls Elementary students:

This morning around 11:00 AM, Three Falls Elementary went into a Lock Out status for precautionary measures due to one staff member hearing what sounded like three gun-shots near the school. All students were brought into the building and were accounted for and safe. Hurricane City Police arrived on campus and the surrounding neighborhood. They concluded the sounds where from a motorcycle back-fire driving past the school. The Lock Out was lifted and school returned to normal operating procedures. We thank our staff for following emergency operating procedures and safely accounting for each of our students in a timely fashion.

Buell said the incident is a perfect example of all the training and preparation that goes into helping keep schools and children safe.

“We are thankful that today involved only some suspicious information and nothing further,” he said, “but it was great to see how the school and law enforcement went into action very quickly to ensure the safety of the students and teachers.”

Parents on Facebook posted their appreciation that the incident at the school was investigated and taken serious by authorities.

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