• December 11, 2019

No answers still in Permian incident - Odessa American: ECISD

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No answers still in Permian incident

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Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:00 am

A week after an incident at Permian High School had the school going into lockdown and evacuation, Ector County ISD police still haven’t figured out exactly what happened, Communications Officer Mike Adkins said Friday.

There was a report that a student had a gun and officers were investigating that and they were asking students to contact them right away if they saw anything, a Twitter post stated.

In a tweet regarding the Oct. 10 incident, Adkins said he wanted to emphasize that there was no active shooter and the campus was safe. 

During the morning, the tweet stated, a fire alarm was pulled causing some students to run from the school. Others followed the evacuation procedures. There were some classrooms that went into lockdown.

Principal Danny Gex sent voicemails to parents updating them on the situation. The first said all the students were safe and located on the football field. Multiple emergency agencies were on campus.

Gex said he would let parents know when students would be allowed to return to class and resume the rest of the day.

Despite the messages, parents picked up their students and traffic was tied up all around PHS. Students made their way out into the shopping center near Permian and some students were sent to a nearby park.

Adkins said Friday officers interviewed 15 witnesses and watched video from the school and video brought to them by students.

“And there’s nothing conclusive from any of that. The witness statements are conflicting. We were looking at Facebook and Instagram. We also pulled some names from there to forward back to police,” Adkins said.

But things like how the incident started and whether or not there was a gun are still unclear.

“It was very different. The witness statements were conflicting. There’s no evidence that can connect any of it,” Adkins said.

The investigation is not ongoing right now, Adkins said, but if anyone comes to police with new information they will look into it again.

“At this point, everything is exhausted,” Adkins said.

He added that appeals were made for the first few days, but that has stopped.

“They know somebody pulled the fire alarm and that’s something we’ll have to look into. The biggest confusion came from inside the school. There was not a report of a gun. There was a fight, not a physical fight but it looked like it was about to be. We had a teacher and an assistant principal who stepped in to break that up. That was happening in between classes. We had police officers and principals making their way over to see what was happening,” Adkins said.

Something happened to make people run.  

“They didn’t know anything about a gun. The kids started running. They didn’t know why. A few seconds after that fire alarm went off, there was an evacuation. As kids were running, kids were sending text messages that there was an active shooter,” Adkins said.

The Odessa Police Department received calls of an active shooter and responded with a tactical team.

He said the students were “clearly spooked” by something, but inside the hall there were some witnesses that heard the word gun and others that didn’t. There was no evidence to support that somebody had a gun, Adkins said.

Adkins said this has already led to PHS and the district took look at emergency procedures.

“We were working on an evacuation. That response is very different than what you would do if there was an active shooter,” Adkins said. “Staff spent some time Monday at a staff development session talking about what they experienced, what they saw, how it could have handled better,  what could have been communicated better” and how can they prepare for the future.

Adkins said the district has controlled access being installed right now. That process started about a week ago.

“But there’s a lot of work. There’s a number of entrances at Permian that are getting the controlled access,” Adkins said.

He said it was supposed to be done by the end of this week, but he’s not sure if it was completed.

The controlled access was paid for with tax ratification funds approved by voters in November 2018.

He said overall people are physically OK, although there were injuries from students and teachers being knocked down. The piece everyone is struggling with is the mental and emotional side.

“… We’ve all been traumatized with the last six weeks of things that have been happening. This was another traumatic incident. It was very scary,” Adkins said.

“It’s a strange time and we’re all recovering from it,” he said.

If there are students, parents and staff that are worried and nervous, counselors are available and the district can connect people with other resources that can help.

“These are all things we want to do because it’s all part of the healing. Every time there’s a really traumatic situation and a scare like this it adds to that level of anxiety,” Adkins said. “We know that and we want to be part of the solution for it.”


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