BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Los Alamos Police Department incident report filed by Cpl. James Keane in connection with a May 15 lockdown at Los Alamos Middle School indicates that there was no firearm located that day but that a firearm had allegedly been brought on campus the previous day.
Keane’s report, obtained through a records request from LAPD, indicates that at 9:30 a.m. on May 15 he was notified of a possible safety issues at the school regarding a firearm. He said administrators had told him they received an anonymous tip that several students had been “bringing and exchanging possession of a firearm on school grounds”. He said the tip included information that the firearm had been on campus as recently as May 14.
Keane said he and administrators immediately searched the lockers of the two students. As they were searching, Keane said he received a phone call from an LAMS staff member who was eating lunch at the picnic grounds across the street from the school stating they had located an unattended bag containing several magazines loaded with live ammunition. The names of the two students are not being published by the Los Alamos Reporter although they are part of the public record.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances I felt it was in the school’s best interest to initiate a lockdown until we could determine that there were no weapons on campus,” Keane’s report states. He said then Principal Brian Easton agreed and announced a lockdown. He said he and LAMS security went to the classrooms of the two 14 year old male students, told them the reason for the interaction and patted them down for weapons.
The report stated that Keane found a magazine with one live round on Student A who told Keane he had brought it to school so that his aunt would not find it. Asked for the location of the firearm, he said it was under the mattress in his room. He was escorted to Keane’s office. No contraband was found on Student B and he was escorted to the school office.
Keane’s report states that other LAPD officers arrived at the school and began searching classrooms both boys had been in as well as the boys P.E locker area. An officer also went to Student A’s residence to see if the pistol was where he said it was. As soon as the pistol was located the lockdown was lifted.
Keane said LAMS administrators spoke to the two students whose names were revealed in the anonymous tip and both stated that Student B had shown them the pistol. On said Student B had accidently sent a SnapChat message of a picture of himself holding the firearm. The student described the gun as a black pistol that was easily held in one hand.
The second student said he and Student B rode the Atomic City Bus after school the previous week to Urban Park and that Student B revealed the pistol in his backpack while at the park near the bathrooms. Keane asked the student if he and Student B went straight to the bus after school and he said they did. Keane also asked if they had made any stops or if Student B had picked anything up between the time they left the school and the time Student B showed him that he had the pistol in his backpack, but the student said no. The student described the pistol as being a black German-style Luger.
Keane said Student B’s mother was contacted and that she and her son were notified of the charges being made against him based on the witness statements. Student B refused to sign the Juvenile Offense Form but an interview was set up for May 16 with his attorney at LAPD and he was released.
On May 16, Keane’s report indicates that several LAMS students came forward with information regarding the pistol. Two students reported seeing Student A and Student B in the boys P.E. locker room at approximately 7:45 a.m. May 14, the day before the lockdown. They reported seeing Student A take what they believed to be a pistol from his backpack and place it in his locker. They said they asked what it was and Student B told them not to worry about it. The described the firearm as a black pistol with a thin barrel.
Another student reported that she had been hearing about a gun being on campus off and on for a couple of weeks. Keane’s report indicates the student said Student B had been talking about having the gun during that time period although she had never seen the gun.
Keane and school security reviewed video surveillance footage from May 14 and saw both Student A and Student B enter the P.E. locker area at 7:45 a.m.
During the interview with Student B and his mother May 17 Student B denied having any knowledge of the gun and said he never possessed the firearm on or off school grounds.
On June 5 Keane interviewed Student A and his guardian after reading them their Miranda warning. Keane’s report states that Student A said he brought the pistol to campus a couple of weeks prior to the lockdown because he wanted to help his friend Student B who was worried that he was going to be “jumped’ by some other kids. Student A said he would do anything to help his friends and that he gave Student B the Luger before school one day. Student A said he and Student were behind the LAMS gym near the football field when he provided the pistol to Student B. He said Student B had the pistol for approximately a week and that he believed Student B was keeping the pistol at his home. Student A said the pistol he provided to Student B was not loaded and that he did not give magazines or ammunition to Student B.
Keane’s report indicates that he provided a statement of probable cause and a criminal complaint to the First Judicial District Court and that the packet was also sent to the Juvenile Probation Office and Teen Court.
“Upon conclusion of my investigation the firearm that was brought to school was not brought to harm any of our students but rather as a scare tactic to prevent harm to the student who was carrying the firearm,” Keane’s report ends.