Police find gun following North Vancouver school threat

North Vancouver RCMP say they have recovered a gun after an international student at Seycove secondary allegedly threatened a teacher.

The student threatened to “bring a gun to school and do harm to a teacher” on Tuesday morning, according to North Vancouver RCMP spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong.

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Upon learning of the threat, police responded to the school and arrested the student. Later in the day, Seycove principal Mark James sent an email to parents, saying the RCMP determined the school was safe and classes had resumed as normal. At the time, police said no gun had been found. Late Wednesday, however, RCMP investigators found a gun “off of school grounds.”

“It was a revolver,” De Jong said. “Police found it through information that was received.”

James sent a second email to parents just after noon on Thursday, informing them of the update and that the RCMP have stepped up their investigation.

“It’s a very serious incident. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. It could have gone the other way. The safety of the students and teachers is a priority for the district and the police. We are treating this as a priority with a lot of resources,” De Jong said.

Police are saying very little about the case, including how the student got the gun, where it was found, whether it was loaded or whether the student had access to ammunition, what motivated the threat or whether the gun was even carried on school grounds.

“I would imagine there’s probably 500 questions that people are going to have,” De Jong said. “A lot of that information, if it is going to come out, it will come out through the courts if there are charges.”

Charges, however, may be difficult as the student was expelled and left the country on Wednesday, according to the school district.

A second international student, who was an acquaintance of the first, is also now under investigation. He has been suspended but the school district’s disciplinary process for him was not yet complete on Thursday, according to Deneka Michaud, North Vancouver school district spokeswoman.

There were no earlier warning signs that the student may have posed a threat, Michaud said.

“Any warning sign that ever comes up would be investigated by the school district for any student, whether international or local. If any type of warning sign or information comes available where a potential threat could arise … it would be addressed immediately.”

International students are vetted before they are selected to come here, Michaud said.

The school district will now review everything that’s happened to see if there are any gaps in its policies, Michaud said.

“Whenever we have a critical incident of any kind, we always debrief and we always review our procedures, just to make sure everything worked, and if there did need to be tweaks,” she said. “It appears at this time that the procedures that were followed worked really well and were able to ensure the safety of students and staff. We’re very pleased with and relieved as well by that, but certainly we’ll get together and debrief.”

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