A Gatorade Gun

San Marcos High Lockdown, Search Based on False Alarm

Deputies searching San Marcos High hallways, assault rifles drawn.
Paul Wellman

A long day at San Marcos High School finally wrapped up just before sunset yesterday. According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, deputies completed their final sweep of the campus at 6 p.m., some eight hours after a witness reported seeing a teenager flash a handgun, during an altercation in the parking lot of the near-by Turnpike Shopping Center and then flee towards the high school property. In the end, the SWAT teams, hovering helicopter, neighborhood searches, nearly six-hour student and staff lockdown, and weapon-sniffing dogs were nothing more than a high-stress precaution as, based on the Sheriff’s and school officials’ investigations, there never was a gun.

Instead, the alleged handgun was actually a plastic sports drink bottle, aimed suggestively at a group of teenagers in a car by another group of teenagers during a verbal confrontation. According to the Sheriff’s Department, four of the young men involved in the incident cooperated completely with the investigation during the lockdown, paving the way for the truth to come out. There were no arrests made in the incident and on Friday, the first day of homecoming weekend, it was business as usual save for Principal Norm Clevenger addressing students on the matter during first period.


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