A teenage boy has allegedly fired a gun at a private school, sending students and a nearby day care centre into lockdown – as details emerge of how children hid in a cupboard out of fear of an American-style massacre.
Emergency services were called to a ‘firearm incident’ Atlantis Beach Baptist College in Two Rocks, in Perth‘s north, shortly before midday on Wednesday.
A boy, 15, was taken into custody by police after he allegedly opened fire three times in the school carpark, one of the bullets penetrating a school building.
The teenager, who police believe is a former student, has since been arrested. No one was injured.
Teachers and students, some of which ‘very young’, took action and immediately called police to report the gunfire.
Visibly distressed students, including young children, were seen rushing into the arms of waiting parents after several frightening hours hiding in storerooms and under desks in their classrooms.
Frantic parents raced to the school to console their distraught children on Wednesday
There were emotional scenes as traumatised students ran into their parents’ arms
West Australia’s Commissioner of Police, Col Branch, confirmed the teenager was in possession of two rifles, a .243 calibre and a .22 calibre, believed to be owned by his father.
They were found in a car that police believe he arrived in and not on his person.
Police found three bullet shells at the scene, however the trajectory of only one of the bullets has been confirmed.
‘When I heard the reports of what had happened today, it really shocked me it really shocked me that this has occurred in Western Australia,’ Commissioner Branch told the media on Wednesday afternoon.
‘But what I am very pleased about is the response of the community, the teachers, the students and the police.
‘We responded quickly and thankfully, no one has been taught that.’
A young pupil was reunited with his mum after the scary ordeal
Frightened students were told to hide underneath desks, jackets or anything that could conceal them.
‘We heard police sirens, then we heard shouting,’ one girl told Nine News.
‘Then we heard footsteps on the deck, which really scared me because I thought it was the guy coming.
‘Then we heard the police knock on the door saying ‘police’ and we were all relieved. We were making prayers as it’s a Christian school.
‘We were hugging each other and I was comforting my friend next to me.’
Another added: ‘We were playing on our laptops doing some work and I heard, like a big bang. Then my teacher said, ‘Get under your desks’.
One dad got a glimpse of the student being arrested as he arrived at the school.
‘They blocked off the road and we saw the young guy get arrested and be put in the back of the paddy wagon. He was calm and didn’t seem to be unfazed,’ he said.
Dozens of police remain at Atlantis Beach Baptist College, where a student allegedly opened fire in the carpark
One distraught boy Riley, 14, told The West Australian newspaper that his teacher locked the students in the cooking cupboard as the incident unfolded.
‘I was shaking, I wasn’t really crying though. It was scary.’
His mum raced to the school after getting a text from his teacher.
‘She (the teacher) said they heard shots out in the carpark and the kids ran in and at first they were quite calm because they thought it was as joke,’ she said.
‘But when they realised it was more serious they barricaded themselves in the cooking cupboard.
‘I said: ‘What’s going on?’ and she said there’s a shooter here. Then I just came straight up here.’
The mother added her traumatised son won’t be attending school on Thursday.
The area remains cordoned off to the public.
Teachers and students, one as young as 12-years-old, were quick to call 000.
‘They rang triple zero, they provided excellent, credible information that allowed our officers to respond appropriately,’ Commissioner Branch said.
‘And I really do want to thank the teachers and the students who enacted those protocols, and help police make a safe arrest.’
WA Police Inspector Geoff Desanges had earlier reassured concerned parents and the community a significant number of police remain onsite.
‘We do not have any reports … of anyone being injured,’ he said.
‘We ask that parents and members of the public give us some distance to complete or duties. We will come back to you with further updates as soon as we have information.’
He added all staff and students accounted for.
Dozens of frantic parents raced to the Perth school after hearing their children were in lockdown inside the college
Insp DeSanges said police needed distance from parents and the community to ‘complete our duties’.
Police continue to liaise with the school in relation to the incident.
A WA Police spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia there are currently no reports of injuries.
It’s understood nearby businesses, including a daycare centre and a medical facility also went into lockdown following the incident.
Atlantis Beach Baptist College is a co-educational private Baptist school which provides ‘quality education’ to students from Kindergarten to Year 10.
Commissioner Branch claimed the investigation, lead by the state’s Major Crime Squad, into the 15-year-old will be ‘thorough’.
‘That means (investigating) all electronic devices, associates, parents,’ he said.
‘How does a 15 year old get hold of two lethal weapons and fire them in a school?’