WILMINGTON -- Wilmington High School was placed in lockdown today after a student brought in a BB gun that looked like a 9mm handgun, authorities said.
Superintendent Joanne Benton told reporters during a news conference that the student displayed the Airsoft BB gun to other students and faculty at about 9 a.m.
She said police were called and classes went into lockdown mode, in which doors were locked and students sat in a corner of each room with the lights out.
They were later dismissed so police could secure the grounds, she said.
Catherine Woodbury has two sons at the high school. She said they both called her at work when they were dismissed around 11 a.m.
"They sounded concerned, but they felt like the police had everything under control," she said.
Woodbury said her sons do not know the student who brought in the gun. She said she could not understand why he would do that.
"Obviously the young man needs some help," she said.
Sophomore Gabriella Perrino, 16, said she was asleep in class when the lockdown was announced.
She said she was awakened by the announcement, which did not mention of a gun.
"They were like 'we'll explain later,' " she said.
Perrino said she heard from friends that the student who brought in the gun was a junior male with mental difficulties.
She said she did not know the student. She also said she was not frightened by the news, since he had only brought in a BB gun.
"I don't think it'd be fatal," she said.
Perrino added that she was more "confused as to what was going on" than scared during the lockdown.
Police Chief Michael Begonis said during news conference earlier today that the gun was not loaded and the student did not threaten anyone.
He said that while students were never in danger, "Obviously, they were scared and upset." He said some students texted each other about the incident but did not elaborate.
Begonis and Benton declined to release any details about the student's identity, mental state, or motivation for bringing a gun to school.
They also did not say whether the student would face arrest or discipline. A spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said tonight that his office has joined the investigation.
Benton said that because the incident is believed to be isolated, all after-school activities will proceed as scheduled this afternoon and evening.
Wilmington resident Susan LeFave put her hand over her heart in a shopping plaza parking lot in town when informed of the events at the high school.
She said she was glad no one was injured and that even though her son attends a local elementary school, she still immediately thought of his well-being.
"When you said that it kind of made me nervous," she said. "Everyone's concerned, just with all the other news out there. It's very scary."
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