Alleged Armed Man Puts Helix on Lockdown

Sadie Neville, Editor-in-Chief

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A “suspicious male” in the University and Yale area of La Mesa put Helix Charter High School and several other nearby schools on lockdown during the morning of May 15.

 

Although surrounding schools were not actively involved in the matter, they were placed under a lockdown as a “precautionary measure,” according to NBC 7 San Diego.

 

The La Mesa Police Department tweeted in the morning that they were in the area at 9:57 a.m., however reassuring readers that “Helix staff is aware and students are safe.”

 

The La Mesa PD Twitter account was rapidly updated as the story developed. They described the suspect as wearing a striped shirt, grey sweatpants, and blue shorts.

 

Police were on the ground and on the Helix campus, and helicopters could be seen and heard hovering above the area, actively searching for the described subject.

 

An unconfirmed witness report from a Helix staff member, quoted by the La Mesa Police Department, noted that a man was seen leaving the Helix campus with a gun.

 

However, when the man was located and detained almost an hour later, he was unarmed. CBS 8, a local news station, reported that the man’s batting gloves were most likely the object mistaken for a firearm.

 

According to 10 News, the man was arrested and cited for trespassing onto Helix grounds, but will be released from police custody after questioning.

 

Helix parents were kept in the know during the entire process, via email and phone.

 

Mark Demers, Assistant to the Executive Director, sent an email to all parents and guardians at 11:24, stating that “La Mesa PD has reported to us that they have detained the subject […] and given us the all-clear to lift the lockdown.”

 

Third period and the rest of the day will continue on as normal at Helix.

1 Comment

One Response to “Alleged Armed Man Puts Helix on Lockdown”

  1. Peggy Crabtree on May 16th, 2017 12:28 pm

    Kudos to you, Sadie! All too often there is a sensation-laced title to draw attention to a situation such as we experienced, yesterday. In looking at various news sources, about the ongoing coverage of the lockdown, one stood out, which warned, “Manhunt at Helix…”

    Sometimes, when seasoned professional journalists miss the mark, the force of words they choose can lead to an undesirable reaction, from the public, whether related to anxiety or increasing worry. How unfortunate that a response to get attention is out of proportion to the actual event being reported on.

    Sadie, your headline indicates a thoughtful approach, and I thank you for your clear and concise reporting. Your efforts coincide with the well-coordinated efforts of our campus administration and La Mesa Police Department, to bring this event into it’s proper perspective, allowing all of us to resume our regular school day.

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