Duluth East Student In Custody After Ammunition Found in Locker, 90-Minute Lockdown

Duluth East went into lockdown Tuesday morning after a loaded magazine with 9 mm ammunition was discovered in a student's locker.

DULUTH, Minn.- Authorities said the situation at Duluth East High School is safe and the lockdown has been lifted after ammunition was found Tuesday morning in a student’s locker.

“I was scared because most of my friends are in that building right now and I don’t know how they’re doing,” Junior Katie Higgins said.

Duluth East went into lockdown Tuesday morning after a loaded magazine with 9 mm ammunition was discovered in a student’s locker.

“It was basically there was a situation where there was a vape pen that was located and so because of the vape pen we searched the locker,” said ISD 709 Superintendent John Magas, “and in doing so that’s when the magazine was or the clip was located.”

The 17-year-old male student was arrested and is in police custody.

The school went into lockdown for an hour and a half, as 14 Duluth Police officers along with bomb-sniffing dog Kali continued to search and investigate.

“Our response was one in which we assume that there is a firearm involved until proven otherwise and that’s why you saw the response we had,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said, “but ultimately there was not a firearm that was located in the school.”

According to the Chief, it’s too early in the investigation to determine why the student had the ammo in school, and if he had any criminal intent.

Any criminal charges for the juvenile, he added, will have to be recommended by the St. Louis County Attorney’s office. “Remember, the juvenile justice system is about rehabilitation and teaching more than it is about being punitive,” he said.

Meanwhile Superintendent John Magas says mental health services will be available, as this adds to a year of potentially scary experiences for students and staff.

“Considering that we’re going through a pandemic some of these needs potentially are exacerbated,” Magas said. “I’m not saying anything particular to this case but knowing that some of our students have had a challenging time throughout this year.”

While this incident did not end with any injuries or violence, some students say after a job coach for a school employee was charged with threats of gun violence and possession just back in 2019, they hope more is done on the state and national level.

“The fact that this has happened twice while I’ve been a student here is very concerning,” said Higgins.

“Hopefully this is a huge wake-up call for a lot of people that just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean gun violence is gone. And that no matter what we have to take things like this very seriously,” she said.

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