Cedar City Police Offer More Detail Into Canyon View HS Incidents
(Cedar City, UT) -- The following is an updated press release from the Cedar City Police Department regarding the situation at and around Canyon View High School this week.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2023
CEDAR CITY, UT – The following is a comprehensive timeline of events concerning the incident that occurred at Canyon View High School (CVHS) on Monday, February 27th, 2023.
On Monday, February 27th at approximately 1:30 PM, a student entered the School Resource Officer’s (SRO) office to report that he saw a juvenile, known to him, drive out of the CVHS parking lot an hour earlier, between 12:20 and 12:30 PM. The student said that it looked like the juvenile was pointing a gun at him as the juvenile drove away, but it was difficult to be sure. The student made it clear that he wanted no further involvement and did not want to be pulled out of class to discuss it further. He did not want to cooperate with any further investigation.
The SRO, Officer Carpenter immediately went to the parking lot to see if the suspect was still in the parking lot, which he was not. Officer Carpenter, without the cooperation and assistance from the student, began his investigation with very limited information. He confirmed the possible identity of the suspect and began looking at school surveillance video to see if the incident was captured on the school cameras, which it was not.
As school was concluding for the day, at approximately 2:30 PM, two students came into Officer Carpenter’s office to tell him that a different student had been assaulted in the parking lot. Officer Carpenter went immediately to the parking lot and found the student. At this point Principal Heaton was informed of the situation. The student told Officer Carpenter that a juvenile suspect came into the parking lot, struck him, and then left. It was determined that the juvenile suspect was likely the same suspect from the earlier incident involving the alleged firearm brandishing. An investigation into this assault commenced with a plan to meet with the student and his parent the next morning. (This was a mutual agreement for all involved parties that included a discussion between the principal, the SRO and the victim’s mother.)
It wasn’t until early Tuesday morning, the 28th at approximately 6:30 AM, that Officer Carpenter was able to obtain physical evidence that the juvenile, who was alleged to have pointed the gun at the student, may have a firearm in his possession. Shortly after this discovery, between 8:45 and 9:30 AM, the student victim contacted Officer Carpenter and told him that he would cooperate with the investigation and agreed to give more details about the encounter.
At this time, officers had already been surveilling the juvenile suspect’s residence and were watching it. His vehicle was in the parking lot and intelligence gathered, gave them the confidence that he was inside the residence.
Officer Carpenter immediately began working with the Iron County Attorney to draft a search warrant for the suspect’s residence. Also, the Iron Metro SWAT team began assembling to brief for an operation to safely take the suspect into custody. It took some time for the warrant to be applied for and approved. During this time, the suspect’s residence was under constant surveillance. Also, during this time, there was an increased presence of law enforcement at Canyon View High School.
Once the warrant was approved, the SWAT Team began to advance on the suspect’s residence, which was around 12:30 PM. Between 12:30 and 12:55 PM, we received information that the suspect shared threats on social media. Due to the threats and the close proximity of the suspect to Fiddler’s Elementary School, Canyon View Middle School, and Canyon View High School, the schools were placed on lockdown. The SWAT team operators approached the suspect’s residence at approximately 1:05 PM and the suspect emerged from the apartment. He was swiftly and safely taken into custody without incident. The lockdown was then lifted. The lockdown lasted approximately 15 minutes.
It is important for the public to know that law enforcement and school officials were working hand-in-hand during the investigation and subsequent arrest. The investigations were begun immediately after the offenses were reported; however, limited information and evidence was offered to be able to lawfully build a case and gather evidence to make an arrest.
There was no belief, either by law enforcement or school officials that there was an active threat to students on Monday to necessitate a lockdown, especially with the lack of evidence and vagueness of the complaint from the uncooperative juvenile. Likewise, there was no belief that there was an active threat to students on Tuesday, to necessitate a lockdown, especially because law enforcement had the suspect under surveillance before school began all the way up until his arrest.
This investigative process did not happen by accident. It was precise and strategic, with much effort to ensure a proper and thorough investigation, and safe arrest. This was all accomplished without students or innocent civilians being hurt or injured.
Police advise the schools regarding precautions to take during these situations, including whether or not there is a need to lock down a school. The school district cooperates fully with law enforcement and recognizes their expertise and relies on their input for these types of decisions.
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