James City County, Va. – A loaded .17 caliber rifle clip found inside Hornsby Middle School Wednesday sends the school into lockdown for two hours.
“If someone has access to the gun with this magazine then there’s a capability of firing several rounds if that magazine is loaded,” said Major Steve Rubino with James City County Police.
Police tell NewsChannel 3 a 7th grade boy found the magazine in his friend’s dad’s car, and brought it in the next day.
“A rifle of this nature of that size caliber of a round would be used for target practice or hunting small animals. People who hunt or target shoot. It’s not uncommon at all,” Major Rubino added.
For those two hours yesterday, police and K-9 units swept the school, and they never found a weapon.
But during those two hours, students and teachers were left in their classrooms with no idea of what was happening on the other side of the door.
A school spokesperson says teachers and students didn’t know exactly know why they were on lockdown. All they knew was that they had to stay put in their classrooms. They didn’t find out what happened until an announcement was made at the end of the day.
Officials add they didn’t give a reason for the lockdown because they say there wasn’t a direct threat, and they were in the middle of an investigation.
They went on to say each situation is different, and yesterday, they didn’t feel it was important for everyone to know why it was happening until the end of the day.
We asked parents what they thought the school should have done, and Athena Keller said, “Not wait til’ the end of the day for sure because some parents probably would have went down there and got their kids.”
But other students think it was to protect their children.
“I’m OK with that I think. I think they do that so the kids don’t panic. You don’t want to send them into full blown panic and you don’t want the teachers to panic either because really it’s up to the teachers to keep the kids safe,” said Margaret Hayden, whose daughter goes to Hornsby.
NewsChannel 3 checked with other school systems on how they’d handle a situation like this, and a spokesperson from Suffolk Schools told us it would be handled the same way — not telling the teachers and students what was happening until it was over.