A Sentinel High School student who brought a replica firearm to the school parking lot to show to friends caused a short lockdown of the school’s campus before classes began on Wednesday.

Missoula Police Department Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold has details.

“Missoula police responded to Sentinel High School at the start of school for a report of a person standing by a vehicle manipulating what the caller described as an assault rifle,” began Arnold. “The school resource officer on scene initiated a lockdown and multiple officers responded to Sentinel High School. Any threat or potential threats of violence towards our schools are taken very seriously.”

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Arnold provided further details of the incident.

“A student was located on the Sentinel High School campus with a replica rifle,” she said. “Officers located the student outside the school and determined the gun to be an all black ‘splatter’ gun with a scope. The student was cooperative with police. There is no threat to the public and based on the initial investigation, it appears the student was showing the splatter gun to friends before school and had no intention to cause harm to the school.”

MCPS spokesperson Tyler Christiansen also provided this comment.

“The school went into lockdown very briefly,” said Christiansen. “We'd received a report of a weapon before school started in the morning. We went into immediate lockdown while the police were called. That's following our district safety protocols. Our staff immediately worked with law enforcement to investigate the situation, and they very quickly confirmed that the school was not in any danger. There was no threat made to any individuals or to the school community, so the lockdown was lifted again before school started in the morning and the school day resumed as normal.”

Arnold wrapped up the report with a cautionary note to students and parents.

“The Missoula Police Department understands the enjoyment kids get from replica toy guns, but we would ask all parents to remind their kids not to bring any weapons toys or otherwise on to school campuses,” she said. “The Missoula Police Department would like to thank the caller who saw something concerning and said something.”

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