POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Davenport School of the Arts was put on lockdown status Thursday while deputies investigated reports of suspicious individuals wielding what was said to look like rifles or ‘assault weapons.’
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says a parent noticed two male individuals near school grounds wearing black clothing and carrying what appeared to be rifles or assault weapons. The parent contacted authorities and the school was placed on lockdown around 8:20 a.m.
Deputies responded to the school, which is on 4751 County Road 547, and secured the building. A 1-mile perimeter was set up as deputies went door-to-door to investigate possible threats.
Deputies say they located two individuals matching the description of “young male individuals in black clothing” with possible firearms but they were reportedly carrying BB guns.
The sheriff’s office shared a picture of the BB guns the individuals were said to be wielding.
The lockdown was lifted shortly after 10 a.m.
“Thankfully, this was not an active assailant situation,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement. “We became aware of two suspicious people, and out of an abundance of caution, we responded swiftly and we were able to determine there was no legitimate threat.”
“I want to compliment the caller who saw something and said something.”– Sheriff Grady Judd
Hundreds of parents arrived at the school to pick up their children once the perimeter was opened by deputies.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office commended the efforts of the school district in placing the school on lockdown and following procedures to keep the student population of approximately 1,100 K-through-8 children safe.
“I also want to acknowledge the great work done by the deputies, Polk Schools staff, and members from Winter Haven PD, Haines City PD, Davenport PD, Lake Wales PD, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Highway Patrol,” said Sheriff Judd.
Polk County School Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd returned the favor by applauding law enforcement for their swift and ample response to a scary situation that could’ve been far worse.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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