Two Santa Fe public schools, Santa Fe High School and Milagro Middle School, sat surrounded with sirens, blinking lights, and fearful parents Tuesday as police searched both campuses for a potential individual with a gun at the end of the school day.
After nearly an hour and a half, police determined the threat was a false alarm and students were allowed to leave the schools.
As of Tuesday night, police had filed charges against a juvenile student for "interference with the educational process" related to the incident.
Officials put the schools on lockdown Tuesday afternoon after police received a 911 call of an unknown man with a gun—the high school first, before police traced the call to nearby Milagro Middle School.
According to police at the scene, the call was likely made by a student using a teacher's phone. Community safety personnel waiting for the sweep of the schools to be completed conjectured that the call was likely a "hoax," or a prank call placed by a student. But the department's response to the possibility of a real threat was chillingly serious.
A ring of law enforcement vehicles blocked traffic around both schools while officers swept the campuses for a threat. In front of Milagro, two officers with rifles stood guarding the entrance and fire departments and ambulances waited in nearby parking lots ready to jump into action if need be.
Parent Mirabelle Ortiz stood in the Milagro parking lot anxiously wiping tears from her eyes as she waited for the lockdown to be lifted.
Against the noise of a lockdown notice repeatedly blaring in Spanish, Ortiz told SFR her daughter has had nightmares of school shootings for over a year, since the shooting that took place in Santa Fe, Texas.
"After reading the same name of our town in the headlines, she just got so spooked, it was like the possibility that it could happen here was real for the first time. And now here we are, and who knows what's happening in there," she said.
To parents' relief, no one with a gun was found inside the school. According to a city press release, officers lifted the lockdown after determining that threat was false.
"An investigation is being conducted with individuals who made the phone calls in question," Police Deputy Chief Paul Joye wrote in a press release after the lockdowns were lifted.