Redondo Union High School Closed After 2 Weapons Arrests, Reopens Dec. 7

Redondo Union High School Closed After 2 Weapons Arrests, Reopens Dec. 7
A school sign in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
City News Service

REDONDO BEACH, Calif.–Redondo Union High School will reopen Dec. 7 with amplified security following the discovery of two students on back-to-back days carrying loaded weapons on the campus.

The 10th-grade students, both aged 15, were arrested on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 in separate incidents, both in possession of weapons, according to police and the Redondo Beach Unified School District. The high school was closed on Dec. 6 in response, allowing police to conduct a more thorough sweep of the campus and staff to reevaluate safety protocols.

On Dec. 4, police went to the campus at 1 Sea Hawk Way around 10:30 a.m. in response to a report of a student in possession of a firearm, according to the Redondo Beach Police Department (RBPD).

“In coordination with school officials, [the] investigation resulted in the immediate detention of a 15-year-old, 10th-grade student and the recovery of a loaded firearm in their possession,” police said in a statement.

On Dec. 5, police responded to the same school around 9:25 a.m. on a report of another armed student. Police said the student ran away from school staff, prompting a campus lockdown. The student was later detained by staff and two RBPD officers who were already stationed on the campus in response to the arrest made on Dec. 4.

It was unclear how either teen obtained a weapon.

Neither student was identified due to their age. During an online presentation for parents Dec. 6 morning, RBPD Lt. Cory King said the investigation was continuing into how and why the students had the weapons on campus. He said neither student is a documented gang member.

“We are still actively investigating what these students’ intents were with possessing these weapons,” Mr. King said.

He added, “There was no evidence of a planned school shooting or specific hit list or act of violence threatening a specific individual at this time.”

Both students were detained on suspicion of juvenile in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm on school grounds, possession of a high-capacity magazine, carrying a loaded firearm in public, and possession of an unregistered loaded firearm.

Despite the arrests on consecutive days, police said they have not found any evidence of a “specific threat or plan for violence” at the school.

“The investigation concerning any indication that this incident may be related to the arrest the previous day, the source of the firearm, and other matters related to this incident are part of an ongoing investigation by the Redondo Beach Police Department,” according to a joint statement from police and the school district.

In response to the dual arrests, however, Redondo Union High School was closed on Dec. 6, with classes set to resume Dec. 7.

In a letter to parents, district officials said the closure “is to provide optimal conditions for our district team and RBPD to work together to conduct a comprehensive review of our safety measures and implement strategies to amplify this important work.”

When classes resume Dec. 7, there will be only three entry and exit points, all of which will be overseen by police and administrators. All students will pass through metal detectors, and all backpacks and purses will be searched, officials said.

Increased police patrols will be maintained at the high school and all other Redondo campuses, and the district has contracted with a private security firm to provide additional staffing.

All of those measures are expected to remain in place through Dec. 15, when the school will go on winter break.

“The two back-to-back incidents are something we would never have imagined,” district officials wrote in the message to parents Dec. 5. “We are going to need to work together to solve the issue of access to guns. Understandably, our school community will demand and expect [the district] to ensure student safety each and every day. Pointing fingers and placing blame is not the solution. Having a dialogue about how we effectively monitor social media, continue to report concerns in a timely manner, and intervene when students appear to be in distress is something we all must do—all of us, parents, staff, and students. We will continue this conversation and I hope it can be a productive one, as this is a community issue.”

Anyone with information on the cases was urged to contact the Redondo Beach Police Department at 310-379-2477, via text at 310-339-2362, or anonymously at [email protected].