FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A teen is in custody after a gun threat led to a “Code Red” state of emergency and evacuation at JP Taravella High School in Coral Springs on Thursday.
The teen was taken in for questioning after a police turned up a fake gun but the moments leading up to that left many scared for their life.
“Everyone started running and we were just like, ‘what the hell’ and then the security guard ran, so we were like ‘oh crap, we gotta get out of here’,” said student Hailey Bates.
“When I heard the teacher say code red, I got scared. I started shaking, going through my mind was something’s going to happen, something’s going to happen. I gotta go, I gotta go,” said Gabriel Nunez.
Chopper4 over the school, at 10600 Riverside Drive, found a heavy police presence at the school, some of the officers had their guns drawn.
Some students had no idea what was happening and only ran because they saw other kids doing it.
“I was in the main building downstairs by the cafeteria which was like a crowd rushing out the doors toward me. I was just scared. As soon as I heard “Code Red” I just ran,” said Ayoub Alkhafhar.
Some parents said they were terrified when they got texts from their kids.
“It says mom, papi, her dad, please help me, I’m scared. I’m shaking. She couldn’t even spell it. It’s code red, code red,” said Lainee Stehly.
Police said it all began with a threat called into the school.
“I want to specify there’s been no shots fired, no weapon has been located, and no student or teacher has been injured. Right now the rooms are being searched, one by one, as a precaution,” said Detective Ernesto Bruna.
As a precaution, all students at the school were evacuated. Most were bused to the nearby Coral Springs gymnasium where they could be picked up by their parents.
At the gym, anxious parents waited in line for their children to be released.
“They don’t know anything. They just heard a lot of banging. They’re just in a group and police came in with their guns drawn,” said parent, Vita Dipaola.
Students said they were locked down, searched and evacuated from campus, even kids who drove themselves to school.
“I heard a lot of panic, a lot of people getting shoved into rooms so they can get to safety, I guess,” said student Andres Acosta.
He said a short time later, the police showed up.
“They took us out of the room, they checked our bags real quick and they patted us down real quick,” he said.
For several hours through the morning, everyone was suspect.
“Two squads of policeman came in, and they just told us to keep our hands in the air,” said student Xavier Rodriguez.
Some parents were throwing up their hands, wondering what the world has come to.
“It’s just horrible for a parent to have to go through something like this,” said parent Monica Suarez, wiping away tears, as she picked her son up at the evacuation site. “These children, I don’t understand why they’re so angry and doing the things that they do.”