By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Tucumcari Police Department continues to investigate a bomb threat on Nov. 19 that resulted in a five-hour lockdown at all Tucumcari public schools.
The incident is an open investigation with police following leads, said Jason Braziel, Tucumcari chief of police.
Braziel said that making a bomb threat is a fourth degree felony.
Along with possible jail time the person found guilty of making a bomb threat faces other penalties including reumbursement of economic harm (businesses or lost wages from closures due to the bomb threat).
Braziel said no explosives were found at Tucumcari High School, the school to receive the threat. He said the lockdown began at 9 a.m.,and ended at 1:09 p.m., after a bomb-detecting dog from Cannon Air Force Base cleared the building.
Once the main building was secured the children were released and the lockdown was lifted, said Pete Rivera, deputy chief of police.
When the threat was received, school officials followed lockdown procedure to ensure the safety of the children, said Superintendent Aaron McKinney.
Before the lockdown was lifted, over a dozen parents were parked across the street from the high school at the Rattler Stadium.
The parents were concerned for their children’s safety and angry because no one had approached them with any information.
“The officers at the scene or someone from the schools should just tell us what is going on and that our kids are safe,” said Angela Gonzales, parent of two high school students.
The fact that no one had given any answers or information to the parents during the lockdown was frustrating, said Deon Cooper, mother of high school and middle school students.
“I received a text from my daughter that the school was going into lockdown,” said Felicia Ortiz.
Ortiz said her daughter stopped texting her shortly after the lockdown began and she was worried about what had happened. She said later she was told that the students’ cell phones were either turned off or taken from them during the lockdown.
The parents waited out the lockdown, talking with each other for comfort and sharing their aggravation about the lack of information.
McKinney said a message about the lockdown and notification that the children were safe was sent out through the school’s text alert system. He said parents can sign up to receive text alerts from the schools’ website.