Lone Peak police say mix-up involving high schools, alleged gunman originated internally

Left to right: Lone Peak High School in Highland, photo: Wikimedia Commons/An Errant Knight; Highland High School, Salt Lake City, photo: Highland.slcschools.org

UTAH COUNTY, SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 29, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Lone Peak Police officials said Monday evening a mix-up involving a possible gunman entering a high school which led to multiple police agencies responding to a high school in the wrong county Friday was a communication error that occurred within its own office.

The school where the “suspicious person” information originated on Friday was Highland High, at 2166 S. 1700 East, in the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake City.

Police, however, responded to Lone Peak High School at 10189 N. 4800 West in the town of Highland, Utah, 33 miles to the south in Utah County.

Authorities originally said a student who was told of the original report mistakenly directed police to a non-existent threat at Lone Peak.

Detective Michael Ruff, Salt Lake City Police Department, told Gephardt Daily that on Friday morning, a student at Highland High School in Sugarhouse reported seeing a stranger enter the school, holding something in his hand.

“The student reported it to school officials and police there, and our officers determined it was a vending machine contractor,” Ruff said.

But before the surveillance video was reviewed and the “stranger’s” identity determined, the student told others and one of them provided police with the bogus information.

So, in Utah County, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to Lone Peak. The school was put on lockdown, the grounds and interior were scanned, and students were questioned, patted down, and marched out with their hands on their heads.

The scene was determined to be safe, and students were released at school’s normal closing time.

However, Lone Peak police now say it was not an erroneous student report, but an internal miscommunication that led to confusion.

A Facebook post from officials said: “After concluding our investigation into the misinformation relating to our police response at Lone Peak High School last Friday, we have determined that the communication error occurred within our office. The initial call came into our front desk. The caller stated that there was someone with a gun at ‘Highland High School.’ Due to the nature of the call it was immediately transferred to our dispatch center (Central Utah 911) who correctly determined that it was indeed Highland High School in Salt Lake City.”

The call of someone with a gun at the high school was overheard by police personnel in the building and the “assumption” was it was Lone Peak High School, the post said. This initiated the response Friday.

“We realize that this was a traumatizing event for students, faculty and staff,” the post said. “Please accept our sincerest apologies for any stress or anxiety that may have occurred as a result. Measures have been taken to avoid such miscommunication in the future and additional training will be provided.”

Source: Google Maps




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