Teenager Facing Drug Trafficking after High School Lockdown in Hamilton.

Bernie Custis Secondary School Lockdown, for suspected Firearm.

After a central Hamilton high school was placed on lockdown due to a potential weapon, an adolescent is being prosecuted on several drug-related counts.

Just before 11 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a release from the police, they received information about a person who was “potentially armed” at Bernie Custis Secondary School on King Street East, which is located across from Tim Hortons Field.
Police officers outside Bernie Custis Secondary School.
The teenager was apprehended at a nearby petrol station after, according to the police, getting into a car and driving away. According to the press announcement, all five of the car’s occupants “were apprehended due to the initial suspicion of a firearm.”

Although authorities claimed to have information suggesting a weapon was left in a bag at the school, no handgun was discovered in the vehicle.

For several hours, the school, the nearby recreation center, and Jimmy Thompson Pool were all placed under lockdown as detectives examined the premises.

In the meantime, students were crowded in the cafeteria, classrooms, and, based on what some parents posted on social media, the restrooms.

When the lockdown was declared, Grade 12 student Austin Hollett stated, “We had to group into a corner.” Hollett was in the cafeteria at the time.

The tall 17-year-old described it as physically “painful” and alarming to be pressed into a corner with 30 other people. He added that students appeared afraid.

When they were dismissed, students poured out of the King Street East building, greeting a small but eager group of parents.

Just after 1:45 p.m., police posted on social media, saying, “The search is complete.” “The inquiry is still being conducted. Both faculty and students are still safe.

According to Michelle MacPherson, whose son is a Grade 12 student there, “it’s absolutely terrifying.”

She had not heard from her son all afternoon, so she left her job at a neighboring Tim Hortons to wait outside for him when she learned that the school was under lockdown. She claimed to have received a memo from the school informing parents of the lockdown, but it was vague.

She remarked, “You know, I’m worried about my kid, so I came straight down.”

At approximately 11:15 a.m., the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board informed parents via a notice on its website that the school was placed under lockdown “due to a potentially serious violent threat or incident on school property” and that the police were responding.

To ensure your safety, please do not visit the school. Do not call the school or your child — we need to follow protocols and keep phone lines open for emergency calls,” the board wrote on its website.

Lockdowns are used “to restrict movement during a potentially serious violent threat or incident on school property,” the board said in an update on its website, distinguishable from a hold-and-secure, which is used when there’s a safety concern in the neighbourhood unrelated to the school.

The board said it would provide an update to families later on Wednesday.

A 15-year-old Bernie Custis student is facing charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking and proceeds of crime under $5,000.

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