Sahuarita Middle School was locked down for about an hour Monday after a student reported seeing a boy in a bathroom with a pistol. After reviewing surveillance video and speaking with several students, police determined the incident didn’t occur.

Assistant Superintendent Brett Bonner said a student went to school administration about 10:15 a.m. and reported what he described as a student with a gun in a bathroom. The district contacted police and placed the school on a precautionary lockdown around 10:20 a.m.

Police and SUSD reviewed video surveillance from a camera outside the bathroom and interviewed the student who reported the incident.

Police said the surveillance video showed nobody leaving the small bathroom after the student exited to contact school officials. Police also combed the building for other means of exit or other evidence and found nothing.

Police rewound the video, which showed four other boys entering the bathroom about a half-hour earlier. They were contacted, interviewed and their belongings search and were determined not to be involved, police said.

SMS was taken off lockdown around 11:30 a.m.

Police said the boy described the person in the bathroom as being short with a “black hoodie, blue jeans, dark hair.” As the boy turned around, he thought he saw a pistol in his hands, he told police.

Police said the boy who reported the sighting has no discipline history, is a good student and active in school. There are no pending criminal charges. They added the boy may have been confused by a full-length mirror in the bathroom, which has one urinal and one stall.

Bonner said the district works to create a culture of openness and want the campus community to be able to report any concerns. They are not seeking to punish the student for reporting a concern. 

“We want to keep an open and trusting relationship with students and staff, and keep that dialogue open,” he said. “We want students to seek an adult if they have a concern or see something suspicious. There is no fault in reporting a concern.”

Jamie Verwys | 520-547-9728 


Reporter Jamie Verwys grew up in Sahuarita and graduated from the high school in 2006. She lives in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2018.