Two juvenile suspects were apprehended, and one remains in custody after Fremont High School went into a lockdown a little after 4 p.m. Thursday.
No shots were fired and no one was injured, though one of the suspects was found with a weapon, said Fremont Police Chief Jeff Elliott.
The Fremont Family YMCA and the Dillon Family Aquatics Center also were put on lockdown due to the situation at the high school.
At approximately 4 p.m. on Thursday, a student notified Fremont High School administration that another student potentially had a handgun, according to FPS Superintendent Mark Shepard.
The administration put the school on lockdown and immediately called the police.
Fremont Police Chief Jeff Elliott said officers who responded to the scene were not able to immediately locate the suspect so a search of the building began.
“Because of the size of the school and the number of students who were still inside additional officers from Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, Saunders County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol responded and assisted in the search,” said Elliott, who wasn’t certain about the number of students inside.
Elliott estimated about 20 officers went to the scene. The suspects were found approximately two blocks from the school at 6:01 p.m. One was ultimately released from custody, while the other was still in custody as of 7:50 p.m. on Thursday.
“Ultimately, two suspects were located outside some distance from the school and they were taken into custody,” Elliott said. “No shots were fired. No one was injured. They had some sort of weapon, but I can’t confirm that it was even a firearm at this time.”
Fremont Fire Department paramedics were on scene as a precaution in case of any injuries.
According to Shepard, police responded and cleared the building room by room. The administration received the all-clear from law enforcement at approximately 6:05 p.m.
“We do appreciate the swiftness that the police department and the state patrol acted on, as well as the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department,” Shepard said. “We were able to work very closely with them as we do in all these kinds of situations.”
Fremont Public Schools later announced that all Fremont Public Schools will be in session Friday.
Just after 5 p.m., when the lockdown was still in effect, Lincoln Avenue, which runs north and south outside the main entrance to the school, was blocked off by law enforcement vehicles on either end of the school.
At the scene, students were seen being taken to Fremont Alliance Church across the street, where worried parents were waiting in the parking lot, as a steady drizzle persisted and skies darkened.
At around 5:20 p.m., Cindy Hartgrave was outside the church, waiting for her daughter, Penelope, who later came out of the school unharmed. Penelope had called her at around 4 p.m. asking to be picked up from school. By the time Hartgrave arrived at the school, officers were already there. Then, she saw a state trooper with a rifle.
“That’s when that scared me,” she said.
The Fremont Family YMCA, which is located approximately eight blocks south of the high school, also went on lockdown for approximately 30-35 minutes — with the lockdown being lifted at 5:30 p.m.
“Since we have a lot of people in the building, we went on lockdown because of the school being on lockdown and its proximity to our facility,” Jerry Rinne, YMCA President, said.
Fremont High School’s first ever swim and dive meet at the Dillon Family Aquatics Center was scheduled for Thursday night. It resumed later in the evening. Student athletes were taken to locker rooms during the lockdown, Rinne said.
“We had all of them go in the locker room and locked the doors to get them away from any windows, but they are resuming right now,” he said just after 6 p.m. “We spoke to the athletic director and the athletic director spoke with the superintendent of schools—they gave us the go ahead and said everything was clear.”
There were no athletic events scheduled at the High School. Conditioning for the soccer teams was taking place in the East Gym from 3:45-4:45 p.m., according to the school’s activities calendar. The FHS wrestling team was at Blair for a dual meet while the FHS girls and boys basketball teams were playing at Lincoln East for the first round of the Early Bird Classic.
“It went as well as we could hope,” Elliott said of the situation, expressing thanks to all law enforcement agencies that responded to assist.