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Three .22-caliber bullets found at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach

LAGUNA BEACH, OCTOBER 25, 2013 - Riley Russo, left, and her twin sister Cameron, along with Dylan B
Students work on a problem during a pre-algebra class at Thurston Middle School in 2013. Three unspent .22-caliber bullets were discovered at the Laguna Beach campus this week.
(File Photo)

Three unspent .22-caliber bullets were discovered this week at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach, leading to an increased police presence at the campus.

The first bullet was found Monday by a student in a classroom, according to Laguna Beach Unified School District officials. The student gave the bullet to a teacher. School staff then contacted the Laguna Beach Police Department’s school resource officer, Cpl. Cornelius Ashton.

A second, similar bullet was discovered later that day on the campus at 2100 Park Ave., and a third was found Wednesday morning by staff in a sixth-grade classroom. The three bullets are in Laguna Beach police custody.

District staff said police officers and a dog trained to find explosives searched the campus Wednesday — including all backpacks and lockers — as a precaution. No additional bullets were found.

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The investigation is continuing, but “there is currently no evidence to support there is a threat to the children, staff or community at this time,” Sgt. Jim Cota, spokesman for the Laguna Beach Police Department, said Thursday. “We are working in collaboration with [the school district] to ensure the safety of all the kids and staff. That is our No. 1 priority.”

Cota added that the department would have a “noticeable” presence at the middle school during the day this week and do frequent patrol checks at night that include officers on foot.

Laguna Beach Unified Deputy Supt. Leisa Winston said in an email Thursday that the district follows police recommendations regarding safety measures and is following school safety plans, which include search procedures and contacting law enforcement.

Winston said school administrators assembled students for drills Thursday and discussed safety procedures, emphasizing the importance of reporting suspicious activity — “If you see something, say something.”

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“LBPD and LBUSD take this situation seriously and will continue to work together to ensure the safety of students,” Winston said. “If at any time the district believes that an unsafe situation exists, safety protocols will be implemented, which may include placing the campus on lockdown and/or canceling school.”

Administrators at Thurston Middle School could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

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