Teen burglar arrested one day after visiting Southridge High campus, locking down neighboring schools
UPDATE on 1/21/22: Kennewick Police confirmed that a 17-year-old suspect accused of entering the Southridge High School campus without permission on Thursday was arrested the following day.
While their identity is being withheld, KPD officers confirm that he was booked into the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center for Burglary to the second degree.
The following breaking news story has been left unaltered from its original publishing.
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Police swarmed outside of Southridge High School before Noon on Thursday after students spotted a juvenile male connected to weapons thefts at a local business last September.
KAPP KVEW’s Ellie Nakamoto-White spoke with Lt. Jason Kiel of the Kennewick Police Department, who confirmed that all students and teachers are safe despite the severity of this situation. All lockdowns have been lifted and there is no present danger to Kennewick schools.
However, Southridge students spotted a juvenile male suspect on campus who is wanted for his involvement in the burglary of Ranch and Home in September. It’s suspected that he stole several firearms during that burglary, and students feared that he may have been carrying a gun in his backpack.
They told Southridge High faculty about their discovery, leading the school to enter a critical lockdown. This means that all doors were locked while teachers and students enter classrooms together to ensure no one is roaming the hallways.
The nearby Chinook Middle School and Sagecrest Elementary School also went into temporary, preventative lockdowns out of an abundance of caution, according to Lt. Kiel.
Kennewick police officers arrived at the school and the suspect’s address simultaneously with the assistance of Benton County Sheriff’s deputies.
Officers weren’t able to locate the suspect at Southridge High School or at his home address. However, they cleared the building and located evidence that he was on campus, and then exited the campus. Since he is not a student, it was critical to ensure that he didn’t stay inside of school facilities.
KPD officers will remain at the scene of Southridge High School to continue their investigation and keep the school community safe.
This is a breaking news story. an update and/or follow-up will be issued if further details are revealed.
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