Grade 10 Langley Secondary School student Kasey Zimmer spent two hours on Tuesday huddled against one wall of her school gym while police in SWAT gear searched her school hallways looking for a student who was reported to have a gun.
The 15-year-old said about 300 people in the gym huddled against one wall far from the doors, while teachers covered windows with garbage bags and students cried and sent panicked messages to their parents.
The school was ordered locked down in the morning after police received reports of the gun.
“At first, people were panicking, I thought it was pretty intense. You could see people were panicking, there were people crying, some people were underneath the bleachers staying under cover,” Kasey said.
“People were scared. Everyone was just worried, on their phones texting and calling their parents.
“I started having an anxiety attack, but I was trying to stay calm.”
The lockdown ended at 1:45 p.m. with the arrest of a 17-year-old suspect, Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks confirmed.
The youth allegedly took a replica handgun to the school. He faces potential charges of possession of a weapon or a replica dangerous to the public peace. There were no reported shots fired or injuries.
Police received a call at 11:45 a.m. of reports of one person at the school with a handgun. The person was in the company of four other males and one female, Marks said.
She couldn’t say if the group of people seen with the weapon were students at LSS. When asked if they had been threating anyone, she said they were “laughing.”
Fort Langley officers went to the school, including the RCMP Air One helicopter, dog squad, and serious crime and youth units. Another 30 Emergency Response Team officers also responded.
Student Danielle Winters was in a cooking class when the principal alerted the school on the public-address system to a lockdown.
The 16-year-old said officers came and patted her classmates down and took them to the gym, telling them to leave their bags.
Tiffany Rudolph was in English class when the lockdown began.
“I was freaking out a little bit at first because I didn’t know what was happening. I’ve never been through anything like this, ever, and I almost broke down,” said the 16-year-old.
About 150 parents gathered at Twin Rinks in Langley anxiously awaiting news.
Langley School District Superintendent Cheryle Beaumont said: “We are just thankful that this incident has been brought to resolution without anyone being hurt. We are also very aware of the professional manner in which the RCMP responded.”