Updated 5 P.M. Oct. 22, 2019
The Billings Police Department detained two juveniles Tuesday afternoon after a report of a person with a gun sent Billings Senior High School into lockdown for over an hour.
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John told reporters at a press conference after the lockdown was lifted that the two young men had two airsoft pistols. He said he did not know if any charges are pending or if any laws were broken.
“Fortunately, this turned out to be okay," St. John said. "Potentially, this could have been very, very serious. So, again, we need to find out. The juveniles have rights, and again, what crime did they commit?”
He said this may be a matter for school administration to address. He said law enforcement believes they were Senior High students and believe they were headed to one of the student’s homes.
St. John said no shots were fired and no one was injured during the incident.
St. John said at about a quarter past noon Tuesday a school resource officer got word of two possibly armed individuals at Billings Senior High School. Police responded to the scene and called for a school lockdown, which lasted from 12:15 until 1:35. He estimates around 30 officers from local, state and federal agencies assisted.
During a search and school sweep, St. John said BPD received several conflicting reports, including that the two people were in nearby Pioneer Park and that they were in the school building. He says law enforcement apprehended two juvenile suspects about two and a half miles away in a car on Monroe's 100 block on the southside.
Billings Public Schools Superintendent Greg Upham said he was in contact with police, parents and other administrators across the school district.
“The best thing right now is no one was hurt. That’s absolutely the win. We’ll learn from it. I’m sure we’ll learn that there were communication pieces that went well and others that may not have. As far as training goes, we’ll do a full debrief with the police department and the entire district. And communication is the challenge with this, so we’ll work to grow from that," Upham said.
Upham said the ‘see something say something’ approach is the best defense the district can have.
There are about 1,700 students between grades 9 and 12 at Senior High School.
No other schools in the area went into lockdown.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Billings Public School Superintendent Greg Upham was in contact with other school districts across the state.
Billings Public Schools at 2:00 P.M. lifted a lockdown at Senior High School that resulted from reports of a person with a gun.
An automated call to parents said everyone is safe, students will follow a revised class schedule this afternoon and the school will follow normal dismissal time.
No other schools in the district were locked down.
Updated at 1:40 P.M. Oct. 22, 2019
Police have detained two juveniles in connection with reports of a potential gun on the campus of Billings Senior High.
The school is currently under lockedown. Police have secured and cleared the school and are cleraing the area.
Police have detained 2 juvenile subjects in connection with the incident. Police secured and cleared the school. All police are clearing the area. No injuries. Investigation ongoing. No threat at this time. https://t.co/o4Uo3gbxdu— BillingsPD (@BillingsPD) October 22, 2019
Updated at 1:30 P.M. Oct. 22, 2019
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John says no shots have been fired and Senior High is secure.
At an impromptu press conference outside the school around 1 P.M., St. John told reporters a teacher saw a couple of juveniles with a handgun in nearby Pioneer Park approaching the school and called for a lockdown.
St. John says BPD assumed they entered the school and initiated a lockdown. BPD is currently going through the entire school to clear it room by room in an attempt to find the suspected gun handlers.
St. John says someone was detained who matched the description of one of the individuals in Pioneer Park. It is unclear if he was the one with the firearm.
St. John says students are in their assigned classrooms and the building is safe and secure.
He asked for the public to remain away from Senior High.
Billings School District Superintendent Greg Upham says BPD is currently searching inside and outside the high school at the corner of Grand and Virginia Lane. He says he is appreciative for all the police are doing to resolve the situation at currently is still ongoing.
Senior High School in Billings is on lockdown as of 12:15 Tuesday afternoon as the Billings Police Department investigates a report of a person with a gun. Billings PD is asking people to stay away from the area.
Senior High School on Lockdown. Report of person with gun. Heavy police presence. Stay away from area.— BillingsPD (@BillingsPD) October 22, 2019
Senior High’s website says the school is currently working with the police department to follow up on an alleged threat of students who may have weapons.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.