Update: Eight students detained, pellet gun recovered after Rutherford incident

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Rutherford High School was locked down Monday after a disturbance on campus.

UPDATE 6 p.m.: SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) — Local authorities put Rutherford High School on lockdown this afternoon after officials say a riot broke out in the school courtyard. 

No less than 5 law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. 

Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said they got a call from the school’s resource officer around 1:30 p.m. Monday asking for help. 

The Springfield Police Department was the first on scene and as soon as they saw how many students were involved they called for backup as well. 

“We received a call over the radio from our school resource deputy here at Rutherford that he needed assistance with a large fight in the courtyard,” Ford said. “Indicated there were about 50 students that were fighting.”

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Sheriff Ford said they quickly responded along with the Panama City, and Parker Police Departments. 

Sheriff Ford said no students were injured in the fight. 

“We had a deputy that received some minor injuries to his hand but that’s the only injury to my knowledge,” Ford said.

Once they were able to break up the fight, sheriff’s deputies say they learned there could be a girl on campus with a weapon. 

The school then went into lockdown as deputies conducted a room-to-room search of the campus. 

“We were able to find a female that was described as a female with a pink hoodie,” Ford said. “We were able to find her in a classroom and upon a search, we were able to find a firearm in her waistband. It turned out to be an airsoft or some type of pellet rifle.”

Sheriff’s deputies then arrested the girl.  Deputies detained eight students who are facing possible criminal charges.

The charges could include battery on a law enforcement officer, disruption of school and the firearm could be a felony charge. 

Sheriff Ford said they will be conducting interviews with these students to find out everyone’s role in this incident. 

“We have a zero-tolerance for this. I have been in contact with Superintendent Husfelt as well as Chief Jones and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Ford said. “Everybody will be taking a ride to the DJJ.”

Sheriff Ford said school administrators started releasing students to their parents around 3 p.m. this afternoon. 

He said school will resume as usual Tuesday if he and Superintendent Husfelt believe there are no more safety threats to the school. 

Our previous story is below:

UPDATE 3 p.m.: SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County Sheriff’s deputies released more information about a riot that forced a lock down and a heavy police response at Rutherford High School Monday.

Here is their full news release:

BCSO released this image of the pellet pistol taken from a student at Rutherford High School Monday.

“The Bay County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Rutherford High School campus at 1000 School Avenue in Panama City at about 1:30 this afternoon. There was a report of a physical fight involving about fifty students in the school’s courtyard area. 

BCSO deputies arrived along with Springfield Police Department, Panama City Police Department, Bay District Schools Safety and Security, and Parker Police Department. As law enforcement took control of the incident, information was developed there was a female student on campus with a firearm.

The female student was identified and located in a classroom. She had a pellet pistol in her possession. Pellet pistols are made to look almost exactly like a real handgun. The student has been arrested.

Law enforcement has the incident under control and is processing the scene and conducting interviews. Approximately eight students have been detained and criminal charges are anticipated.”

Our previous story is below:

SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) — Rutherford High School was locked down Monday afternoon because of a fight, school officials said.

Bay District officials said in an alert to parents that the students had a fight based on “social media posts.”

“Those students who chose to break the rules are now dealing with school-based and legal consequences,” they added.

The incident brought a heavy police presence to the area.

School officials added that Rutherford will be locked down until 3 p.m. when the school day ends.

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