On Monday, April 10, 2017 at about 11:13 a.m., the school resource officer was notified of a possible weapon on campus at Ottawa High School, 1120 S Ash St.  Additional officers were notified and responded to the school to investigate because the resource officer was investigating a burglary at a USD290 elementary school resulting in three arrests.


Initial information was that a student in the high school was seen with a handgun; the student was initially unaccounted for but it was quickly learned that he was attending an off-site, school sponsored, field trip nearby.


After their arrival, police officers located a backpack belonging to a student with a handgun inside; the backpack was found unattended in an empty classroom.  The ensuing investigation led to the arrests of a 15-year-old male from Ottawa and a 16-year-old male from Ottawa for Defacing Identifying Marks on Firearm, Criminal Possession of a Firearm and Criminal Possession of a Firearm on School Property.  Both students were still off school grounds when they were peacefully taken into custody, and both are currently being held in the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center pending formal charges.


Police Chief Dennis Butler said, “The department engaged in a unified response with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to secure the school and conduct an investigation.  Both departments routinely plan and train for such a response and today’s response mirrored those efforts.  Our primary goals and objectives are ensuring the safety and security of the students and staff at Ottawa High School and Ottawa Middle School.  During a fluid situation rife with unknown circumstances every action taken today was to prevent a tragic outcome that we see all too often in communities across this country. The prompt reporting and cooperation of the Ottawa High School Administrative staff aided us today in helping resolve this situation.  Furthermore, this investigation will continue to determine how and why a weapon was introduced into school.” 


Butler added, “I wish to thank the responding officers for their professionalism and rapid response.   To the parents, I want to reiterate that the safety of your children was our highest priority today.”


Timeline of Events

11:13 a.m.       SRO notified police staff about report of student with gun on campus

11:15 a.m.       Initial responding officers arrive at OHS

11:20 a.m.       All responding units arrive, perimeter secured

11:27 a.m.       Parking lots cleared at OHS

11:29 a.m.       Information relayed that student reported to have gun is on field trip, not in school

11:31 a.m.       Firearm located in backpack in classroom

11:37 a.m.       First suspect detained off-campus

11:53 a.m.       All clear issued, police units clear scene