A school community on edge as a student brings a handgun to North Medford High School, nearly prompting a lockdown. Tonight how that situation was contained and what parents and classmates are saying about a student packing a loaded weapon on campus. NBC5's Laura Cavanaugh reports.
"It's kinda scary anyone can come in," says North Medford freshman Casiana Lopez.
Lopez still feeling unsettled about the incident that happened Tuesday afternoon at North Medford High School.
Police arrested one of her classmates for carrying a loaded .38 caliber revolver in the waistband of his pants. Students reportedly alerted the school resource officer about the handgun.
"Within a very short time, they had secured the 17 year-old and taken the weapon off of him," says Sgt. Brent Mak of the Medford Police Department.
That weapon, police say, was apparently stolen from an unlocked car in the 3900 block of Southview Terrace earlier that morning.
"To leave a loaded gun in an unlocked car is not safe. It could create all kinds of bad circumstances," says Mak.
Circumstances potentially thwarted by quick-thinking staff.
"We were prepared to go into the highest level of lockdown. We were fortunately able to deal with it quickly," said North Medford Principal Ron Beick.
The 17 year-old did not brandish or threaten anyone with the gun, but that doesn't make this parent feel much better.
"Granted, they caught the person right away. What if they hadn't caught him right away? Who knows what could have happened," questions parent Tina Lopez. "They have all these entrances to come on property, which makes all of our children vulnerable."
With images of the shootings in Chardon, Ohio last week still fresh in her head, this parent counsels her kids to be aware.
"I talk to my kids about watching other students, their demeanor, to be on alert."
The National School Safety Center reports that since 1992 there have been close to 270 violent deaths that have occurred in schools, the majority of them due to gun violence. Which is why this parent says she's thankful to alert students and staff who helped fend off a potentially deadly situation.
"A totally normal kid has no intentions of doing any harm, but you don't know that, until it's too late."
That 17 year-old is currently in the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Hall. He is charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Theft, among other charges.