Timeline of events during CRC’s lockdown and the followup by PUSD and law enforcement
By David Hollister
At a town hall meeting concerning last week’s threat at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School in Portola, the public was promised an update on follow-up actions after the threat as well as a more detailed timeline from the day of the threat. This article is offered to meet these commitments.
On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, a specific, imminent and serious threat was directed at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School in Portola. The threat was met with an overwhelming response from the school and law enforcement. Within hours, the student making the threat was identified and students and staff were released from campus and reunified with family. At no point were any students or staff in danger, however that fact was not known until after the threat was investigated. I cannot overstate how impressed I was with the response from law enforcement, the staff at C. Roy, school district administration and staff, the impacted families and, especially, the students during this chaotic and traumatic morning.
The following evening, Thursday, May 18, 2023, a town hall meeting was held at C. Roy Elementary School where Superintendent Bill Roderick, Undersheriff Chad Hermann and myself answered questions and received many helpful comments from parents and staff.
On Monday, May 22, 2023, the staff at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School held a debriefing where a number of thoughtful ideas were exchanged and forwarded to school district administrators as well as involved law enforcement command.
Two days later, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, an After Action Review was held with school district administration, administrators from C. Roy Carmichael, Sheriff and CHP Command personnel, a school board member and the district attorney. A review of the incident occurred, covering the preparation and response from the perspective of both the school site and law enforcement. During this review topics covered what was supposed to happen, what happened, what went well, what did not go so well and what should be changed. Also during the review, planning occurred for upcoming school threat trainings.
During the town hall meeting on May 18, 2023, Undersheriff Chad Hermann provided the following timeline regarding the threat at C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School the day prior:
Wednesday, May 17 2023
7:47am Dispatch received the call from Veteran Crisis Services
During this time, dispatchers were obtaining the information from the reporting party. The caller reported a subject texted to the V.A. Crisis Hotline that they were homicidal and planned on killing several people at C. Roy Carmichael (CRC) Elementary School. The initial information provided was very limited, mainly a first name and the phone number the texts came from.
7:59am Patrol Units at the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) were notified of the call, briefed and began responding to the school Code 3.
8:01am Cell phone call to Portola High School (PHS) principal to notify CRC staff. No answers at CRC or the PUSD office.
8:04am CHP notified of the call and advised they had one unit en route. CHP unit was staging at the front of the school.
8:05am Incoming call to Undersheriff Hermann from school personnel that CRC was locking down the campus and PHS would be going into a soft lockdown. PHS was later, also, placed on lockdown by the school district.
During this time, school staff was diverting incoming student/parents from the school.
PCSO contacted the V.A. reporting party and requested copies of the texts they received. After going through the approval process, PCSO received the texts approximately 45 minutes after the initial request.
8:24am PCSO units arrived on scene and began securing the CRC campus and setting a perimeter. Additional units from the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office, Sierra County Probation Department, California Fish and Wildlife and the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office arrived soon after.
9:31am Law enforcement and school staff begin allowing some parents, one by one, to get their children and leave CRC.
10:09am A few patrol units moved to provide road closure to increase the security radius around the CRC campus.
Student evacuations continued for the next few hours until the CRC campus was cleared. Patrol staff continued to search the area for any evidence at CRC. Evacuations continued until approximately 2 p.m.
During this time, PCSO was able to obtain an email and IP address issued to the cell phone making the threat. The information was relayed to Det. Sgt. Steve Peay to assist with the investigation. Before noon, a subject was identified and admitted to being responsible for the threat.
11:30am PHS students were released from campus. Law enforcement personnel were present during this event and two units were left on site at PHS throughout the entire event.
3:55pm The call was completed and all units returned to their patrol areas.
One thought on “Timeline of events during CRC’s lockdown and the followup by PUSD and law enforcement”
Good job by all.