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More than 21 officers respond to airsoft gun incident at Russell Boulevard Elementary

ABC 17 News was on the scene at what the Columbia Police Department is calling a suspicious incident at Russell Boulevard Elementary on Friday afternoon.

Around 4 p.m., more than 21 officers arrived at the school where two juveniles were playing with an airsoft gun and shooting it at the ground. The call was originally considered a shots fired situation, but was deemed a suspicious incident once officers arrived on scene and realized what had taken place.

“Immediately you think ‘Oh my gosh, I hope everything is okay,'” said Kaytee Jones, a parent who came to pick up her son after the incident. “You start wondering what’s going on and just hoping that everybody that has your kids is trained to handle situations like this.”

Michelle Baumstark, a Columbia Public Schools spokesperson, said an after school activity through Mizzou was going on at the time of the incident. The elementary school went on a modified lockdown as a precaution, meaning no one was able to get in or leave the building.

Jones said she received text message and email updates about the school being on lockdown. She said she was pleased with the communication.

“I feel like we were updated quickly and they gave us the information we needed to know,” she said. “And it was super fast saying the lockdown was lifted and that all the kids were safe and everything was okay.”

The juveniles were taken into custody, but eventually released to their parents. Police cleared the scene around 4:30 p.m.

CPD’s armored vehicle was also called to the scene, but was quickly called off once police determined what had happened.

“The process moved very quickly. The scene moved very quickly,” said Bryana Larimer, a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department. “Our officers did have a perimeter set up. Again, just all protocol for a situation like this. We let parents know that we take these incidents very seriously.”

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