Lacey police arrested a 16-year-old River Ridge High School student Thursday after officers said they caught him with suspected drugs and a loaded gun.
The incident happened the morning after classes began at the high school, North Thurston Public Schools spokeswoman Amy Blandin said. Principal Serenity Malloy later sent an email to parents.
“We are working with the police as the investigation progresses,” Maloy said. “Thanks to the immediate response of (school resource officer) Kim and law enforcement, we didn’t have to go into lockdown.”
A staff member reportedly saw suspected drug activity in the restroom and called school administration to investigate, Malloy said in the report. Blondin recognized the staff as observant.
“One of the things that helped with this situation is that our staff goes into the schools and has a relationship with the students,” Blandin said. “When they hear something, they are able to react quickly.”
An administration member then searched the student’s belongings and found what they believed to be drugs and “a loaded handgun,” Malloy said.
The discovery prompted a quick response from the school resource officer and Lacey police. Officers arrested the student and determined the gun had been previously stolen, Sgt. Jeremy Knight told The Olympian.
Knight said the student was booked into a juvenile detention center on suspicion of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon on school property.
Officers also found a suspicious substance, but Knight said the lab has not yet determined if the substance is a drug.
He said there was no threat to the school at the time police responded. Blandin said the school day went on as planned without a hitch.
“It’s really important for students and staff, if they see something, they say something,” Blandin said. “We always encourage students to share information with their administrators or Crime Stoppers, just to make sure we have a safe learning environment for all students.”
Crime Stoppers of South Sound is accepting tips at 800-222-8477.