2 students arrested, gun found after threat at CVUSD school

3,700 students and staff at three schools in Thermal were evacuated after a serious threat was received at Torre Canyon High School Wednesday morning, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.

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According to Sergeant Brandy Swan, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, authorities received a threat of violence at the school at 10:10 a.m.

They believed that this was a real threat.

School buses lined the street to evacuate students

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said at a news conference that students saw a student with a gun at the bus stop. Deputies arrived at the school 10 minutes later, only to find the gun had been transferred to another student.

In addition, Bianco said a grenade-like object was found in the other student’s backpack.

Toro Canyon High School, Las Palmitas Elementary School and Desert Mirage High School were evacuated as a precaution due to a possible grenade. All three CVUSD schools are connected to the same campus area.

He added that the bomber examined the potential device in the backpack and determined that it was not a grenade, but a toy radio device similar to a grenade.

Two students were detained and weapons confiscated, Swann confirmed. Bianco said the students are 13 and 14 years old.

“We will determine the consequences of their behavior,” Coachella Valley Unified School District Superintendent Luis Valentino said.

Bianco also added that the gun was registered as belonging to someone from another city.

Blanca Hall, CVUSD trustee president, confirmed the school is in the clear. Classes at all three schools will resume on Thursday.

It took several hours for the Sheriff’s Department and CVUSD to provide information to concerned parents about what was going on. Bianca apologized for the delay and says there are issues with spreading the word faster.

“Our legislature has made it illegal for us [Sheriff’s Dept] talk to minors. So we’re not able to get the information that we’ve normally gotten in the past about the safety of other students, about other students that may be involved. And so it’s a very long and painstaking process that we have to go through to make sure that the rest of our campus and the rest of our students are safe.”
– Sheriff Chad Bianca

CVUSD Trustee Jocelyn Vargas posted a statement on her personal Facebook page at 12:27 p.m.:

“Please do not panic, we are following the Sheriff’s Department’s guidelines as a precaution. There have been no incidents, but we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of all students. The district sends instructions to parents about where they can pick up their students. The Sheriff’s Department will hold a press conference. Parents, please check district media for information on where to pick up your students.”

News Channel 3 went to the scene, speaking with parents and officials. Latest details live at 16, 17, 18 and 18:30

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