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Second gun scare in less than a month at an Anchorage high school

Ben Anderson

A lockdown situation at Dimond High School in Anchorage was brought to a quick close Tuesday morning, ending with a 16-year-old student in custody and facing charges of terroristic threatening, assault and weapons misconduct after allegedly bringing a BB gun to school.

According to Anchorage police, a call came in at about 9:35 a.m. reporting a weapon on Dimond High rounds. Within 60 seconds, 15 officers had responded to the South Anchorage school.

"Upon arrival, APD learned that a 16-year-old male student pointed what appeared to be a handgun at another student," said a statement from police. "The victim student waited approximately an hour before reporting the incident to school officials, who immediately called APD."

According to Anchorage School District spokeswoman Heidi Embley, the student who saw the weapon informed an assistant principal of the situation. The school was immediately placed in lockdown, and the responding officers located the student in a classroom with 17 other students.

Embley said that the student had possession of the gun in his backpack, which police recovered. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun that resembled a more powerful handgun.

"It was described as being a replica of a Glock .40," said APD spokeswoman Dani Myren. "You wouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t a real weapon."

Embley said that the school was quickly moved from lockdown into "stay-put" mode, then that was lifted as well. The whole event only lasted about 15 minutes, she said.

The student, described only as male, was taken into custody and will face charges.

Tuesday's event came just one day after school resumed following winter break and was the second scare for the school district in less than a month. An East High student was also arrested on Dec. 21 -- after winter break had already started -- after discussing alleged school shooting plans while playing video games online with two other youths out of state.

School violence has been an even more serious issue since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 students dead. Anchorage School District officials have been working with police to re-evaluate and assess student safety plans.

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com