Casper Police Mum About Accounts of Officers Pointing Guns at Students
The Casper Police Department will not respond to social media accounts that officers pointed weapons at students during the enhanced lockout at Natrona County High School on Friday morning.
"There are certain details we can't disclose," department spokeswoman Rebekah Ladd said.
At 9:20 a.m., an unidentified person reported on the Safe2Tell website that a suspicious person with a weapon was near the high school, department spokeswoman Ladd and school district spokeswoman Tanya Southerland said during a news conference.
Ladd said law enforcement officers respond "above and beyond" to situations where there may be weapons.
That included placing the school on a "secure in place" security level which usually means closing doors and keeping students inside, she said later Tuesday.
Officers then conduct a sweep of a building, Ladd said. They enter the building armed and with weapons drawn if they have to immediately counter a threat, she said.
Law enforcement does not reveal details of tactics so as to not alert a possible threat about what it may encounter, Ladd said. "When we are clearing a building, the operations and procedures are not disclosed."
Meanwhile, some parents and students posted comments on social media sites saying law enforcement officers entered classrooms with weapons drawn, pointed them directly at students, and ordered them to put their hands up or else be shot.
Aaron Hutsell is a junior at the transitions school by the Casper Classical Academy, and was in his language arts class.
"Next thing you know, a bunch of cops came in there and said, 'put your damn hands up,' and so we did," Hutsell said. "An officer standing behind me a couple feet back had a shotgun pointed towards my head."
Another officer walked around the classroom pointing a 9mm pistol at the students, he said.
Hutsell did not know of the officers went to other classrooms.
He was shaken up, adding the other students were "freaking out" and hyperventilating.
Two parents told K2 Radio News that their children were still shaken by the experience and were not ready to talk.
Ladd said the department will not comment on those alleged actions. "We can't, unfortunately, give information on that, from the officers' perspective."
She and Southerland said at the news conference that parents could pick up their students early, and that counselors would be available for those dealing with the events on Friday.