Worried family member brings firearm to locked-down Va. middle school

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A family member possibly concerned about a lockdown at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Va., brought a firearm when coming to pick up their student Friday, according to the school’s principal, Keisha Boggan.

The family member damaged a door while attempting to enter the school, Boggan wrote in an email to Thomas Jefferson families.

Thomas Jefferson Middle School had been placed on lockdown at the recommendation of Arlington County police following an incident at a nearby convenience store. After 20 minutes, the school was instructed to be placed on “secure the building” status, with students kept in the building and outside doors locked. Shortly after, the school was placed back on “normal” status, Boggan wrote. The principal notified families through the school’s alert system of the lockdown.

Arlington County police were dispatched to the store at 12:21 p.m. for a report of an assault with injury, said a tweet from the department. The suspect produced a hammer, smashed a display case, stole merchandise and attempted to assault an employee.

“Thomas Jefferson Middle School was placed on a secure status as police investigated,” said the social media post.

Later, Thomason Jefferson Middle School administrators learned there was no threat to the middle school, and a person was taken into custody by police at the nearby 7-Eleven.

“Today was unsettling and traumatic for students and staff, as well as our families,” Boggan wrote. “The safety of our students and staff remains our priority.”

Arlington police were investigating the circumstances that led to the individual coming to the school.

The incident happened as the country grapples with a shooting last month at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Several area schools have received threats of violence or reports of students with weapons in the past few weeks. Some schools have increased security and a police presence on campuses.

At Thomas Jefferson Middle School, counselors will be available to students once they return to school Monday. A scheduled eighth-grade dance will continue as planned tonight. The principal encouraged parents to process emotions and feelings with their students after the lockdown. She plans to further address the incident Monday.

“This should be a time to celebrate the conclusion of our school year, not one where we are paralyzed with fear,” Boggan said.

The last day for Arlington County middle schools is June 16.

Salvador Rizzo contributed to this report.