Arizona parents arrested after attempting to force entry into school to protect children

Arizona parents arrested after attempting to force entry into school to protect children

Three Arizona parents have been arrested after attempting to enter a locked down elementary school and protecting their children after a gunman was reportedly seen trying to enter the building.

Officers in El Mirage, Ariz. used a taser gun to subdue two parents who were helping a third parent, whose gun fell to the ground while being taken into custody outside Thompson Ranch Elementary School, a police report said .

One of the two parents was taken to a local hospital to be treated for Taser injuries.

At the time of the confrontation between parents and police, officers had confirmed the threat was no longer present, a “suspicious package” had been removed and found free of explosives, and police were working to relocate the parents with their children, Lt. Jimmy Chavez said in a statement.

The parents attempted to enter the school while it was still under lockdown, and their attempted entry while “forcefully pushing officers who were trying to get onto campus” violated law enforcement and school procedures, Chavez added .

Officials in El Mirage, Ariz. used a taser gun on three parents they say were trying to force entry into Thompson Ranch Elementary School

One of two parents who were overpowered by police was taken to a local hospital to be treated for Taser injuries, Lt.  Jimmy Chavez

One of two parents who were overpowered by police was taken to a local hospital to be treated for Taser injuries, Lt. Jimmy Chavez

At the time of the confrontation between parents and police, authorities said officers were already working to reunite the parents with their children

At the time of the confrontation between parents and police, authorities said officers were already working to reunite the parents with their children

The parents attempted to enter the school while it was still under lockdown and her attempted entry while

The parents attempted to enter the school while it was still under lockdown and her attempted entry while “forcefully pushing officers who were trying to get onto campus,” Chavez said

The incident came three months after parents in Uvalde, Texas confronted police outside Robb Elementary School when a gunman was inside. Heavy criticism ensued when authorities at the scene failed to confront the gunman, who eventually killed 19 children and two teachers, for over an hour.

El Mirage Police said the parents got to the school’s campus before students and teachers could be evacuated.

“They physically tried to get on campus and they got into physical altercations with our officers,” Chavez added.

Darlene Gonzales told NBC News that she arrived at the Thompson Ranch with her eldest son to pick up her daughter, who texted her that school was on lockdown.

Thompson Ranch Elementary School is located in El Mirage, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix with a population of almost 36,000

Thompson Ranch Elementary School is located in El Mirage, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix with a population of almost 36,000

Darlene Gonzales said she arrived at the school 30 minutes before the confrontation and received text messages from her youngest daughter, who was at the school

Darlene Gonzales said she arrived at the school 30 minutes before the confrontation and received text messages from her youngest daughter, who was at the school

Gonzales says her older son, who she brought with her, was grabbed by police after they realized he had a pistol in his pocket.  Two parents tried to help with his release

Gonzales says her older son, who she brought with her, was grabbed by police after they realized he had a pistol in his pocket. Two parents tried to help with his release

She arrived at the school and was directed by the police where to park and wait across the street.

“We got there, we met other parents, and at that point the parents started showing up,” she said.

“So, we get there, no one can cross, no parents cross the street, we waited and were scared.”

After 20 to 30 minutes, Gonzales said she and other parents heard an announcement over the school’s PA system saying the lockdown was ending with no present threat.

“That’s when the parents started saying, let’s go to school,” Gonzales continued. “We are all together, everyone started going to school.

“We got there and no official told us to leave.”

When the parents were told to head towards the school library, Gonzales said tensions were beginning to rise. An officer approached her son, who was carrying a pistol in his pocket, and grabbed him.

While two parents were trying to help Gonzales’ son, whose gun fell while confronting police, she was thrown to the ground.

“I was thrown,” she said. “I felt like I was going off the ground and when I fell I hit my head and jumped up and then the rest of my body passed out for a very short time.”

Gonzales says her son's pistol was dropped during the standoff with police and was subsequently thrown to the ground

Gonzales says her son’s pistol was dropped during the standoff with police and was subsequently thrown to the ground

After the three parents were arrested, locals took to social media to criticize the El Mirage Police Department's response

After the three parents were arrested, locals took to social media to criticize the El Mirage Police Department’s response

A man who appeared to have a handgun

A man who appeared to have a handgun “attempted unsuccessfully to gain access to campus through an outside door,” a school district spokesman said

Upon arriving at the school, Gonzales said she and other parents heard an announcement over the school's PA system saying the lockdown had ended with no present threat

Upon arriving at the school, Gonzales said she and other parents heard an announcement over the school’s PA system saying the lockdown had ended with no present threat

Chavez said it was illegal to possess a firearm on a school campus.

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca responded to concerns about police involvement with a post on Facebook.

“We had very concerned parents who responded and when the school was secured trying to get into the building while it was locked down,” Marzocca said.

“Some even jump over walls. There were even fights and arguments between the parents.”

“Officers from all over responded. I learned that a suspect had violently poked my officers in the chest and a handgun was found with them during the attack.

“Two other people tried to protect this person from arrest and were also arrested.

“Just because someone disagrees with a law doesn’t give them the right to disobey laws they don’t agree with.”

Responding to some Facebook comments urging El Mirage police to draw comparisons to Uvalde police, Marzocca said that “what happened in Texas is foreign to the findings of law enforcement in Arizona.”

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca said:

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca said: “Very concerned parents are responding and as the school was secured trying to get into the building while it was locked down.”

1660593268 330 Arizona parents arrested after attempting to force entry into school

“I learned that a subject had forcefully punched my officer in the chest and a pistol was found with them during the attack,” Marzocca said in a statement

The El Mirage Police Department's account of the events states that the man originally seen attempting to enter the school fled the scene.  He was later arrested and charges are pending

The El Mirage Police Department’s account of the events states that the man originally seen attempting to enter the school fled the scene. He was later arrested and charges are pending

Police became aware of the school after witnesses said they saw a gunman entering the building at 10:30am Friday morning. Those reports were deemed “unsubstantiated,” police said.

A man who appeared to have a handgun “tried unsuccessfully to gain access to campus through an outside door,” said Renee Ryon, a spokeswoman for the Dysart Unified School District.

“The campus immediately went into lockdown and the person fled without ever being granted entry to the building,” she said.

The same man who initiated the lockdown was located by police later that afternoon.

A subsequent police statement said charges are pending following an examination of the man by mental health professionals.

Thompson Ranch resumed all school activities Monday morning.