Teen with tactical belt prompts school lockdown

Ashland, Ore. — Both Ashland High School and Lincoln School went into lock down Thursday morning after Ashland Police got a call of a young man with a tactical belt and what looked like a holster for a handgun.

“I think that we’re constantly on edge right now. Especially around our schools and universities. It’s just… it’s the world that we live in,” Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said.

It was a day just like any other for the Ashland Police Department and nearby schools until a call came in around 10:30 Thursday morning.

“We were there… inside a couple of minutes,” Chief O’Meara said.

A city of Ashland employee said he saw a young man wearing tactical gear who looked armed with a holstered handgun.

He was walking on Ashland High School campus.

“Anybody looking at this kid would be alarmed by his dress and the fact that he’s walking onto a high school campus with tactical gear on… one day after 17 people died in a similar situation in Florida,” Chief O’Meara said.

Both Ashland High School and Lincoln School across the street immediately went into lock down.

But only for about fifteen minutes until police discovered it was a false alarm.

“He wasn’t armed. But he was wearing a tactical belt with a radio holder on it that very easily can be mistaken for a holster,” Chief O’Meara said.

The young man, who is a student, is apparently known for wearing the belt.

And while everyone was thankful there wasn’t actually a threat, Chief O’Meara says it was good for Ashland Police to practice its active shooter response.

“No two situations are the same. We get there, we figure out what’s going on, and we address the situation however we have to,” Chief O’Meara said.

Chief Tighe O’Meara says Ashland Police has a good relationship with the schools.

Police are meeting with school leaders to find out how they can respond even more effectively if it were to happen again.

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