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UPDATED: Dana Hills High School on Lock Down After Empty Gun Case Found in Parking Lot

No weapon was seen, and students are being held in place until the search is complete.

SWAT team combing through Dana Hills High School. Patch user-contributed photo.
SWAT team combing through Dana Hills High School. Patch user-contributed photo.
Originally posted at 2:07 p.m. May 29, 2014. Edited to add new details, photos.

UPDATE at 3:58 p.m.: Students were released from the campus after 3:30 p.m. Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said nothing suspicious was found and no suspects were detained. The gun case was found on the ground in the parking lot at Dana Hills and someone had brought it into the school office before deputies arrived on campus.

Original story:

The discovery of an empty carrying case for a rifle or shotgun in a campus parking lot prompted a lockdown and room-to-room search of Dana Hills High School today, but no weapon was immediately found.

The search began shortly before noon when the case was found outside the school at 3333 Golden Lantern St., according to Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.

Students were forced to remain sheltered in place inside classrooms at the school, while sheriff's deputies and a SWAT team combed through the campus.

Dozens of concerned parents flocked to the school in hopes of picking up their children, some of whom were communicating via text message with people outside the campus. Some parents told KCAL9 the students' backpacks were being searched, and some students were being held in darkened rooms.

One parent, Stephanie Andrews, told the station that according to her son, some students were urinating in classroom sinks because they were not being allowed out of their classrooms.

"It is scary to them to see guard dogs and SWAT team members going up and down their school and just in light of recent incidences, not knowing what could happen -- it's very scary to them," she said.

Hallock stressed that no weapon had been found at the campus, but the search was likely to last for the bulk of the afternoon.

"We're taking it seriously and as a precaution conducting a very thorough search of the school," he told KCAL9 at the scene.

Stephen Nichols, spokesman for Capistrano Unified School District, said the case was  "was sufficient enough that law enforcement was able to conduct whatever investigation they feel they need to conduct," Nichols said. 

As of 3:30, the lock down had not been lifted, a photographer at the scene told Patch.

"At no time any students were in danger, or faculty in danger," Nichols added.


--City News Service

Patch Editor Penny Arévalo contributed to this report.
Sean Ryan May 30, 2014 at 11:22 AM
Oh please. Your kid has more of a chance of getting killed by lightning than a mass shooter. Mass shootings are no more common than they have been in past decades, despite the impression given by the media. In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. So yeah, calm down.
Rocky Neidhardt May 30, 2014 at 11:51 AM
People are too worked up these days.. Let's get everyone off the psychotropic drugs and we won't have any more shootings !
bbq May 30, 2014 at 10:01 PM
Both of my boys (who were in separate classrooms) said the SWAT team came into their classrooms and ASKED the kids if anyone knew anything about a gun! Of course nobody "copped" to it and they left without searching the rooms! I also love how they said (per the above article) that nobody was ever in danger. If no danger, why the 3 hour lockdown??? And yes, kids had to go to the bathroom in trash barrels!
Bob Forsberg June 03, 2014 at 09:05 PM
Knee jerk reactions like this over an empty case that could have been used for pool table cue sticks, that looks like it could carry a weapon shows what our country has deteriorated to. When I went to high school we carried our rifles to school every week for marksman training courses in the elective rifle club. No knives or saws in shop classes anymore either?

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