2 in custody after altercation prompts heavy police response at South Broward High School

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Police took two young men into custody at South Broward High School after the school was placed on a code red lockdown due to a reported threat.

Hollywood Police officers responded with guns drawn to reports of someone with a gun at the school, located near Harding Street and North Federal Highway, just before 2 p.m., Tuesday.

Investigators said this all started with an altercation between two people on campus. A student witnessed what they thought was a weapon and told their parents, who called the school. School officials then called police.

Cellphone video captured an officer in tactical gear asking students in a classroom to walk toward him with their hands on top of their head.

 

The sight of officers in tactical gear carrying long guns frightened some students.

“Everyone started running,” said a student.

“SWAT team came in with guns, and they were like, ‘Put your hands up.’ I was freaking out,” said another student.

A photo captured the subjects in handcuffs sitting on the floor of a hallway on campus.

“All I can say is that this is crazy, man,” said Phil Peterson, a custodian at the school.

Peterson said he was the one who opened the school gates to let officers into the campus.

“My heart was pounding and everything, but thank God it’s over,” he said.

Officials said the subjects were located near a mural that read “Little Broward Learning Lab.”

A student at the school became emotional when addressing the incident.

“It’s terrible. Why do they have to do this?” she said as she fought back tears. “Like, please. I want to learn. I don’t want to be scared.”

“Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, it’s something that we deal with a lot, and it makes me so mad. It makes me angry,” said South Broward High School’s Magnet Coordinator Debbie Hixon.

Her husband, Chris Hixon, was one of the victims killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

“It does change your life significantly, and you don’t realize it until something happens, how much it hits you,” said Hixon.

Parent Alcia Rhein said she learned officers searched the building.

“They’re sweeping the school, floor by floor, room by room to find the kid that they’re looking for,” she said. “My child told me that he tried to run, and they snatched him in the back and put him in the library.”

Officers found a BB gun inside one of the subjects’ backpacks. No other guns were found, and no one was hurt.

“Even if it’s a BB gun, no one would know that. Just think of what would’ve happened if they would have pulled that out and someone else had a real gun,”said Hixon.

Broward County Public Schools officials said the lockdown was lifted as of 3:15 p.m.

7News cameras captured police in tactical gear walking the subjects out of the building and putting them in squad cars. Officers were seen carrying their backpacks, apparently collecting them as evidence.

“At this point, detectives are questioning the suspects, talking to them, actively investigating this,” said Hollywood Police spokesperson Miranda Grossman.

Students have since been dismissed, and parents have been able to pick them up outside of the school’s property waiting.

Veronica Real said she came to pick up her niece.

“I’m worried about my niece. She’s a ninth-grader,” said Veronica Real.

When asked how the lockdown made her feel, Real replied, “Worried, scared, nervous.”

Officials have not disclosed the subjects’ ages. They said one of them is a student at South Broward High, but it remains unclear whether or not the other one is enrolled at the school as well.

Out of the two subjects detained, one 17-year-old student will be charged with disrupting a school function.

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