Pat Reavy; By Pat Reavy Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY – Laurie Lacy, the principal at Edison Elementary School, has practiced the lockdown drill at her school many times.
But on Tuesday, when school administrators called for a lockdown, it was no drill.
An armed man with a history of federal firearms convictions who was fleeing from police tried to escape by running into the school. Lacy said school administrators could see the man through the window running to the front door.
But because Edison Elementary, 466 S. Cheyenne St. (1520 West), had already gone into a precautionary lockdown situation, the front doors were locked and the man was unable to get in.
He was arrested moments later by pursuing Salt Lake police officers at the front doors of the school.
“Everything worked like clockwork. Doors were locked, students were safe, students witnessed nothing and at no point were they in any harm,” Lacy said. “Practice was very helpful and it went like clockwork.”
A total of two people were arrested Tuesday after police responded to a call of shots being fired about 10:40 a.m. near the school, said Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking.
A teacher outside the building with students heard what she thought were gunshots, Lacy said.
“She immediately brought the students in, alerted the administration (and) as a precaution we locked the outside of the building and called police dispatch,” she said.
Officers responding to the school spotted a man on a bicycle just west of the building. As soon as the man saw the officers, he began to pedal away, raising the suspicions of police, Wilking said.
The man rode to the nearby school where he attempted to enter the building and was arrested, he said.
Ricky Quintana, 34, of Salt Lake City, was arrested for investigation of being a restricted person in possession of firearm, drug possession, fleeing and trespassing on school property.
While police were investigating Quintana, a second person was arrested at a nearby apartment complex. Details on that arrested man were not immediately available. Wilking said he was a wanted person, but could not confirm if the man was involved in the original shots fired incident or just happened to be in the area while detectives were there.
According to Utah state court records, Quintana pleaded guilty in 2010 to retaliation against a witness in exchange for two counts of felony discharge of a firearm being dismissed. After twice violating his probation, Quintana was sentenced in 2012 to a year in jail.
In 2005, he was charged with robbery, burglary and kidnapping, but the case was later dismissed when a witness did not show up for court, according to court documents. In 2002 he was convicted of theft and burglary of a vehicle. In 1999 Quintana was convicted of in two cases of theft and sentenced to one to 15 years in prison after violating his probation.
Quintana has also served time in federal prison for his crimes, including convictions of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and witness tampering in 2007 and 2009. In 2011, he was sent back to federal prison for two months for violating conditions of his release, according to court records.
As the situation unfolded Tuesday, Lacy said her only thoughts were keeping students and her staff safe.
“As the principal, the buck stops with me. And it’s my responsibility to keep the students safe and to make sure that families can trust us to look out for their kids. So what’s going through my head is, ‘I hope this works. I trust my staff. I trust our students, we’re going to do the right thing,’ and we did,” she said.
“Your adrenaline goes up once you stop and think about it. But in the moment, we’re concerned about doing what we know, which is keep our kids safe.”
Lacy said there were “angels on our shoulders” Tuesday. But she also said she was grateful for the efforts taken before Tuesday by her staff to prepare for such an emergency.
“You don’t know when it’s going to be important,” she said.
If the man had gotten inside the school, she said all of the classroom doors would have been locked, the lights turned out and the students moved to secure parts of their classrooms. The students, she said, were aware that something was happening, but were not told that a man with a gun had attempted to enter. They were fed lunch and kept safe, Lacy said.
(c) 2015 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.