Report of man ‘loading magazines’ in weapons near Fossil Ridge Intermediate School triggers police response

ST. GEORGEA man in possession of what turned out to be two airsoft guns near Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in St. George triggered a police response and lockdowns of two schools Wednesday morning. 

Law enforcement responds to a reported gunman near Fossil Ridge Intermediate School, St. George, Utah, Dec. 9, 2020 | Photo by Alexa Morgan, St. George News

At approximately 9:45 a.m., a woman on the upper floor of the Taylor Andrews Academy, a beauty school located southeast of Fossil Ridge on Riverside Drive, called 911 to report a person with a long rifle and a handgun near the school. 

“She could see that he was loading magazines and so she called that in,” St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said of the caller. 

Atkin said that school resource officers and several units from the Police Department responded and made contact with a 19-year-old male on a parcel of undeveloped property to the east of the school. The man had a rifle and a handgun, both airsoft guns, in his possession. He told officers that his intention was to target shoot in the empty field. 

“For whatever reason, he thought that that was an OK place to target shoot,” Atkin said, adding that the man was cited for trespassing and disorderly conduct. 

Steven Dunham, communications director for the Washington County School District, told St. George News that both Fossil Ridge and nearby Millcreek High School were placed on lockdown as an emergency precaution for approximately 20 minutes while the situation was resolved. 

“We are so grateful to the officers, agents and deputies in our law enforcement that responded so quickly,” Dunham said. “There is no doubt, and there should be no doubt, in our parents’ minds or our students’ minds that they are cared about and protected at the highest of priorities in our community.”

St. George News reporter Aspen Stoddard contributed to this report.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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