UPDATE 1 p.m. — The Willits Police Department has released the following description of the events leading to the lockdown:
WILLITS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Date: November 14th, 2019 Author: Sergeant R. McCoy
Release Date: Immediate (707) 459-6122
No threats made to the schools. Willits High locked down as a precaution.
On 11/14/19 at 1040 hours, Officers were dispatched to the Willits High school for a second hand report of a student who was possibly in possession of a firearm.
As Officers responded additional information was provided that the student was not on school grounds. This information was verified by Officers at the school and as a precaution Willits High was placed on lockdown at 1047 hours.
The juvenile was located and detained at 1101 hours by Willits Police Officers.
During the investigation it was learned the juvenile had been in possession of an airsoft pistol which was recovered by Officers. The juvenile did not threaten anyone, did not make any threats to the school and never entered on to school grounds.
The Willits Police Department would like to thank the allied agencies who helped during this investigation. We would also like thank the citizens of Willits for their patience while Officers investigated this incident.WPD
WILLITS, 11/14/19 — Willits High School was briefly placed under lockdown this morning, and has been released from that heightened state of security as of 11:05 a.m.
In a brief interview Willits Unified Superintended Mark Westerberg explained that the Willits Police Department had requested that the school go into lockdown as a precaution while they searched for a student. As Westerberg put it, "A student...had something with them that the police were concerned about and they came to the school." However, the student in question was not at the school and he has been detained, off-campus.
At this time The Mendocino Voice does not know what the object in question may have been. Westerberg elaborated that, "The police don't give us any other detail than that...they don't give me names, they don't give me what they [are looking for], they just say 'you need to go into lockdown.'"
The school district has sent out messages by various means, including Facebook, Twitter, their webpage, and via text, saying that the lockdown has been lifted. The initial text message sent to some parents reads, "Willits High School is currently under a temporary lock-down for safety reasons. There is no active issue at the High Schoo [sic] it is being done as a precautionary measure."
No one at the Willits Police Department was available for comment, and Chief Scott Warnock was not in the office.
A shooting earlier today at a high school in Southern California, near Santa Clarita, left at least two children dead, and has emotions running high across the state. But to be clear this lockdown is in no way connected to the events down south.