Julia Randall Elementary School was on lockdown for about an hour Wednesday around noon following a third-hand report of a 911 call from a male stating there was a man with a gun at the school. After a classroom-to-classroom search of the school, police found no sign of trouble.
Students and teachers stayed behind locked doors while officers from the Payson Police Department and the Gila County Sheriff's Office set up a perimeter around the campus and began searching the school grounds.
The 911 call came into Maricopa County Sheriff's Office dispatch which called Gila County Sheriff's Office. They in turn contacted the Payson Police Department.
"The original call was taken in Maricopa County because the individual was using a cell phone and sometimes it doesn't go to the jurisdiction it is being used in," Payson Police Lt. Don Engler said. "The young male indicated there was a man at the school with a gun. He indicated that he was at JRE. That was the information we had to work with and the call was lost and we had no way of recontacting the person."
Engler said officers set up a command center and began searching each classroom.
"The lockdown began as soon as we were able to contact the school," Engler said. "We searched in every possible location a person could hide and did not locate any problem whatsoever."
Engler said officers are continuing the investigation to identify the caller.
"We'd sure like to talk to the caller in person to determine what they had seen," Engler said. "We like to encourage young people to report their concerns, but we also have a concern if the information was fictitious."
As of Dec. 7, there had been no additional information in the investigation.
"We're still having difficulty locating the actual caller," Engler said. Until the caller can be identified, not much progress can be made, he added.