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Fake gun leads to Mayo High School lockdown, arrest of student

Mayo High School was briefly under lockdown Monday morning when a student brought a toy gun to school.

A 15-year-old student was arrested Monday morning at Mayo High School after allegedly pointing a novelty replica gun at students and staff, leading to a brief lockdown.

The male student faces possible charges of felony terroristic threats and brandishing a replica firearm, according to Rochester police Sgt. Eli Umpierre, who oversees the school district's school liaison officers.

Police Capt. Brian Winters gave this account of what happened:

The student allegedly brandished the plastic gun in a stairwell around 9:30 a.m., briefly fleeing the area when a teacher asked him to surrender the replica firearm.

The student returned to the area where he had been confronted. A witness saw the student point the gun at a teacher, leading to the lockdown. One or two minutes later, the student surrendered the weapon.


Classes resumed shortly after the incident. There were no injuries. Winters said he didn't know of any threat directed at a specific student.

The replica firearm, which can't shoot projectiles, is a practical joke handgun that shocks the person holding it when that person pulls the trigger, Mayo High School Principal Tom Olson said. The gun has a laser pointer that makes a dot on the target, according to  Umpierre.

Olson said he made an announcement explaining the lockdown to students afterward and that an e-mail about the situation would be sent to parents.

Mayo practices lockdowns five times a year as a safety measure, Olson said. He said this was the first actual lockdown at the school since at least 2000, when he started working at the school.

"Everyone took it seriously," he said.

Felony cases filed against children younger than 16 are confidential, so it's unlikely that any details about possible court proceedings involving the student will become public. Prosecutor James Spencer of the Olmsted County Attorney's Office declined comment on when or if charges might be filed.

The school district will conduct its investigation after the police investigation is done, Olson said. The district's weapons policy bans not only firearms, but also toy guns or any object that resembles a real weapon. Violations could result in suspension or expulsion.

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