Police Investigating Unspent Bullets Found at Thurston Middle School

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By Allison Jarrell | LB Indy

Three unspent .22 bullets were found at Thurston Middle School’s campus on Monday and Wednesday, according to an email sent to parents by Principal Jenny Salberg just before noon on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Salberg reported that an unspent .22 bullet was found by a student in a Thurston sixth-grade classroom on Monday, Oct. 14. “The student provided it to the classroom teacher, we made immediate contact with the School Resource Officer and began an investigation,” Salberg wrote.

Later on Monday, another student found a similar bullet in an unknown location of campus and turned it in to a Thurston staff member, Salberg said.

On Wednesday morning, a third bullet was discovered in a different sixth-grade classroom by a Thurston staff member.

“The LBPD has determined there is no immediate threat to the safety of students, however, in an abundance of caution we will have an increased police presence on campus over the next several days,” Salberg wrote. “Our staff remain vigilant while we cooperate with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s ongoing investigation.”

LBPD Sgt. Jim Cota said Wednesday that School Resource Officer Cpl. Cornelius Ashton is leading the investigation into how the bullets got to the campus and who they belong to. “He and the acting investigations supervisor did a walk through of the entire school and interviewed some teachers today,” Cota said.

Police determined there was no immediate threat to the public because no evidence was found tying the bullets to a specific person, or showing that someone had been firing a weapon, Cota said. He added that there have not been any recent reports from neighbors of suspicious persons or activity in the area.

“The dogs haven’t hit on anything, there’s no video of somebody being around there or anything like that,” he said. “There’s no threat of any violence right now that we can see.”

Cota said Cpl. Ashton will spend the majority of his time at Thurston as he leads the investigation and speaks with students and teachers. In addition, LBPD will conduct patrol checks on foot in parking lots and around the schools several times an hour through day and night shifts.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. We’re working in collaboration with LBUSD to take swift action and do whatever we can possible for the protection of the children,” Cota said. “That’s our number one goal.”

Salberg asked parents to check their children’s belongings to ensure their student does not bring prohibited items to school. “We want to reinforce the message to our students, staff and community that if they see something suspicious to say something to a school staff member, administrator or law enforcement,” she wrote.

“Please contact the school office if you have any information or concerns,” Salberg concluded. “Our school staff and law enforcement will continue investigating to uncover the source of the bullets and will continue to keep you informed regarding any further developments.”

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Below is Salberg’s message to parents in its entirey:

Important Information.

Dear TMS families:

On Monday, October 14, an unspent .22 bullet was discovered by a student in a 6th-grade classroom on campus. The student provided it to the classroom teacher, we made immediate contact with the School Resource Officer and began an investigation. Later that day, another student found a similar bullet on campus in an unknown location and turned it into a staff member. This morning, another bullet was located by a staff member in another 6th-grade classroom. The LBPD has determined there is no immediate threat to the safety of students, however, in an abundance of caution we will have an increased police presence on campus over the next several days. Our staff remain vigilant while we cooperate with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s ongoing investigation.

There is no greater priority for us than the safety of our students and staff members. We ask for your assistance in checking your child’s belongings to ensure that your student does not bring any prohibited items to school. We want to reinforce the message to our students, staff and community that if they see something suspicious to say something to a school staff member, administrator or law enforcement.

Please contact the school office if you have any information or concerns. Our school staff and law enforcement will continue investigating to uncover the source of the bullets and will continue to keep you informed regarding any further developments.

Thank You.

Jenny Salberg
Principal
Thurston Middle School

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1 COMMENT

  1. STOP proliferating hysteria. Kids have been bringing stuff to school since the beginning. The El Morro Class of ’64 saw snakes, magnifying glasses, boomerangs, rocket engines, bullets and pot; best memorable experience of the time (and you too Mrs. Lee). Nobody got hurt, not even during the recess demos. My classmates grew-up to become a doctor, a professional chef, two architects, an engineer and one rocket scientist. Educators take note, show-and-tell is a learning experience, make this one.

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