Elijah Smith Elementary School locked down after suspected gunshots

Whitehorse’s Elijah Smith Elementary School was locked down for less than an hour Tuesday morning after police received reports of possible gunshots in the area.

Whitehorse’s Elijah Smith Elementary School was locked down for less than an hour Tuesday morning after police received reports of possible gunshots in the area.

At 9:30 am, police were called after a possible shot was heard in the wooded area near McIntyre Drive. Officers responded and heard a second possible shot.

That’s when the nearby school was put under lockdown.

“There was no direct threat to the school in this situation, however, the safety of the students and staff was a priority for the RCMP,” Inspector Archie Thompson, Whitehorse RCMP detachment commander said in a news release.

“We felt it was important to exercise caution until further information could be known and requested that the school be placed on lockdown.”

Some officers stood outside the school while others searched the area, but nothing suspicious was found. No injuries were reported, and no further complaints were received, the RCMP said.

Police say the lockdown lasted less than a hour.

For security reasons, the Yukon Department of Education won’t give too many specifics about what’s involved when a school is locked down.

“The first priority is ensuring the safety of students and staff. Procedures to ensure their safety may include coordinating with the RCMP, emergency evacuation routes, locking doors, keeping away from windows and doorways, etc. Afterward, staff monitor and check in with students to debrief,” spokesperson Holly Fraser said in an email.

“The students and staff of Elijah Smith Elementary School did an excellent job of following the proper protocols and responding quickly to the situation.”

Fraser said the lockdown was lifted around 11 a.m.

Parents were told about what happened via a letter sent home with students.

The department collaborated with the RCMP to gather information together for parents, Fraser said.

“The decision was to provide direct contact to parents to assure them of the safety of their children during the day,” she said.

Whitehorse RCMP didn’t release any information to the general public until about 11 hours after the lockdown was lifted.

“We wanted to ensure parents were notified first and were not hearing about the incident via the news while their kids were still in school,” RCMP spokesperson Coralee Reid said in an email.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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