A student at Glebe Collegiate Institute is in Ottawa police custody after a handgun and ammunition were found near the school Thursday, prompting a lockdown.
Ottawa police said their investigation began when they received a call about a bullet found at the school. They located a bullet on school property, and later arrested the student off school property. The handgun was found nearby, also off school property.
'At no point was anyone in danger.' - Steven Massey, principal
"The school went into lockdown mode as part of their procedures and we began a search of the school," Insp. John Medeiros said. "As a result of our investigation, we've arrested a young male, not on school grounds."
Police confirmed the minor in custody is a student at the high school. Medeiros was unable to confirm whether a short video being circulated by students at the school showing a young man pulling a silver handgun and clip from a backpack was related to the incident.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board originally said the building was in "secure school" mode, but later confirmed the school was in lockdown. That's when students and staff are told to hide in their classrooms because there's an "active threat to the safety of persons in the school."
"There was a lockdown called today because we received a report that there may have been a weapon found in the community and may have been brought into the school," Principal Steven Massey said in an email.
"At no point was anyone in danger."
Neither Massey nor police specified where the handgun was found.
Threat level downgraded
The security level at the school was later downgraded to "shelter in place," meaning the building's outer doors are secured but normal routines continue.
By 1:30 p.m. students were allowed to sign themselves out for a break. Classes resumed in the afternoon.
Despite the assurances from authorities, some students said they were shaken by the incident.
"It's a scare for the school. People were saying there's a weapon. There's a bunch of rumours, but no one knows 100 per cent of the story," said Grade 12 student Douglas Bergmane-Smith.
Kabhan Rathan, also in Grade 12, said during the lockdown his classmates turned to their smart phones to figure out what was happening.
"With social media, a lot of people were interacting with one another to find out what was going on. A lot of us were on the internet searching on Google," said Rathan during a break outside the school.
Despite a request from police for parents to stay away, some showed up to sign their children out and take them home.
Debra Burke, who lives close to the school, said she got an email from her son during the lockdown letting her know he and his classmates were safe.
"It really concerns me because we haven't had any big issues with guns in the Glebe," said Burke. "I'm sure the children that are within the school right now are pretty panicked. It's quite upsetting."
"These situations can be troubling and we have ensured staff are available for student support," Massey said in the email. "School will be dismissed at regular time. We will communicate more information to parents as it becomes available."