Tates Creek school campus on ‘heightened alert’ after gun report; no weapon found

Schools on the Tates Creek campuses operated on “heightened alert” Friday morning and kept students inside after police apprehended a juvenile male following a report that he had a gun near campus, officials said.

“We became aware this morning that a minor who was not enrolled as a student on the Tates Creek campus had been seen by staff at the middle school,” Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said about 4:15 p.m. “ They immediately alerted law enforcement and when officers responded, the individual fled, prompting a pursuit and police investigation. When the individual left the campus, we asked the Lexington Division of Police for assistance. Once the Lexington Police apprehended him, the individual was taken into custody on a pick up order for an unrelated matter.

“It had initially been reported that the suspect may have been seen with a weapon earlier in the morning in the neighborhood. Once apprehended, the suspect was found not to be in possession of a weapon as was first reported.”

Fayette County Public Schools have been dealing with several rumors, threats and gun incidents following fatal school shootings in Western Kentucky and Florida earlier this year.

In an email sent to families Friday morning, officials said, “Law enforcement officers have apprehended an individual near our campus who was reported to have been in possession of a firearm in the neighborhood earlier this morning. He is in police custody and all students and staff are safe inside our school buildings. We will be operating on a heightened alert and keeping everyone inside while the police continue this investigation. We will update you as soon as we have additional information.”

The Tates Creek campus in Lexington includes an elementary, middle and high school.

At 11:33 a.m., Tates Creek Elementary Principal Carrie Paul sent a voice message to families saying that “all is well at TCE (Tates Creek Elementary) and has been all morning.”

“Law enforcement is around campus but to our knowledge, nothing has been substantiated at this point regarding a gun on campus,” Paul said in the message.

“We’ve been safe at TCE all morning and are having a typical fun Friday,” Paul said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears