A potential mass shooting at a middle school in Washington state was thwarted this week after an eighth-grade student was found in possession of a gun, ammunition, and a hit list.
In a Facebook post summarizing the incident on Monday, the Moses Lake Police Department reported that officers were tipped off by school administrators after concerned students expressed that a classmate was making threats to "shoot up" the school.
Shortly after, officers entered the school and made contact with the student, searching his person and backpack. During the search, they found a pistol and two magazines of ammunition — as well as a list of targets.
The student was immediately placed under arrest and removed from school grounds. He has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and felony harassment, according to KREM-TV.
The student has not been identified by the police or in local news reports, though KREM said the suspect is a 13-year-old male.
In the post, police thanked the students who bravely came forward, noting that their actions may have prevented an "unspeakable tragedy."
The incident reportedly occurred at Chief Moses Middle School in the town of Moses Lake, located in central Washington. No students or staff were harmed.
In a subsequent news release issued by the Moses Lake School District, district superintendent Carole Meyer said she had notified the families of the students who were included on the suspect's list of targets and made counselors and other support staff available to students.
Meyer added that the student who was found with the gun would be referred to the juvenile court system and face disciplinary action, in addition to criminal charges.
"We can never underestimate the role we all — students, parents, and teachers — play in keeping our schools safe," Meyer wrote. "We ask that you please discuss the day’s events with your child, emphasizing the seriousness of this situation."
In a separate letter sent to parents, the school's principal, Vicki Swisher, said, "We cannot acknowledge enough how important it is for all of us to say something when we see or hear something that makes us uncomfortable. As a result of our ‘See Something, Say Something’ culture, we were able to intervene in what could have been a very dangerous situation. We work every day to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for our students."
Moses Lake student found with gun, list of potential targets www.youtube.com