Moorpark High Update: Student was 'either going to hurt others or hurt himself', deputy says

Moorpark High School, California

Moorpark High School

Moorpark High School was under lockdown and emptied Thursday after a 9-1-1 call.

A Moorpark High student who deputies believe was behind a threat that closed the school Thursday morning was found dead on railway tracks near the campus. Ventura County Sheriff’s dispatch received a call at about 8:20 a.m. about the note. Shortly after, they received a call about a pedestrian nearby being hit by a train. By Thursday afternoon hey were able to confirm the suspect and victim were the same person, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said

Update 4:27 p.m.: Sheriff's office: Student was 'either going to hurt others or hurt himself'

The 16 year-old Moorpark High student who was found dead on train tracks near the school had made specific threats against others on campus, a Ventura County Sheriff's officer said Thursday.

Sgt. Eric Buschow told KPCC he couldn't comment on the specific threats made in the note.

"Suffice it to say there was language in there that indicated that he intended to do harm to others on campus," he said.

"It appears that, in his note, in his writings that he had reached the pivotal point where he was either going to carry out violence against others or carry out violence against himself," Buschow said. "He chose the latter."

Sheriff's officials received a call about a note threatening members on campus at 8:23 a.m. Thursday. Buschow said school administrators handed deputies a photo of the student and the threatening letter. At 9:08 a.m., as about 70 deputies were searching the locked-down school, deputies received a call that a nearby train had hit a pedestrian in a rural area about a mile from campus. Deputies suspected it might be related, but couldn't confirm the victim's identity.

"When you have a train versus a pedestrian, it does some massive trauma to the body. so he wasn't readily identifiable at that point," Buschow said. 

The victim, he said, had stepped out in front of an oncoming passenger train. His name has not yet been released, though his family has been notified, Buschow said.

"I can't emphasize enough how important and how vital it was that school officials did everything right. It's kind of sad in this day and age — we hear about school lockdowns taking place. It's something that you and I, while we were growing up, never had to deal with. But unfortunately it's part of the landscape... and we're getting better at it," Buschow said.

"Things could have been a heck of a lot worse today, I can tell you that." 

Grief counselors will be on hand at the school Friday to speak with students about Thursday's tragedy.

Update 3:06 p.m.: Student believed responsible for school threat found dead on rail tracks 

A Moorpark High student who deputies believe was behind the threats that closed the school Thursday morning was found dead on railway tracks near the campus, according the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. 

The department released a statement this afternoon: 

Moorpark High School was placed on lockdown Thursday morning after school officials received written threats from a male student just after 8:00 am. 

The 16-year-old student was found dead a short time later on nearby railroad tracks after he committed suicide by stepping onto the tracks in front of an oncoming passenger train. 

The lockdown has since been lifted and all 2,200 students were released for the day.

Update 2:12 p.m.: Moorpark High School threat: Lockdown lifted, investigation continues

Moorpark High School’s campus has been emptied and a lockdown has been lifted following a 911 call from the campus Thursday morning.

Ventura County Sheriff’s dispatch received a call at about 8:20 a.m. in reference to a threatening note left by a student, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Captain Don Aguilar told KPCC's Rob Strauss.

"The only information I can tell you about the note is that it was a note that threatened harm,” said Aguilar, who did not know where the note was found.

The school immediately went into lockdown, and Sheriff’s resources arrived to secure the school and conduct searches throughout the campus.

“There was no immediate threat or harm to anybody,” Aguilar said.

Parents were notified to come pick up students early, which Aguilar said was a decision made by the school’s administration.

The investigation into the possible threat continues, and a secondary cautionary search is underway with Sheriff bomb squad and canines to ensure the entire campus is safe. 

Map of Moorpark High School


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