KATY, Texas – A student suspect who was taken into custody Monday afternoon after a “zip gun” was found at Seven Lakes High School has been charged.
According to the district officials, a zip gun is any device altered to propel an object designed to cause harm. Devices like this are often made with a pipe and can fire nails.
The school was evacuated around 10:15 a.m. after the Katy ISD Police Department learned of a perceived threat on campus. The students were immediately led to the football and baseball field for their safety while the FBI, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department’s bomb squad joined in the investigation.
The device was located around 11 a.m and investigators said they found another weapon in the trunk of the car that Thomas Scott Barfield drove to school. The 19-year-old man has been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.
“He was kinda a pyrotechnic if you know what that is. He liked to make things with fire and all that,” Josh Rubin, a senior, said of the suspect. “He is honestly a nice person if you just talk to him, but he would be a person I would expect would do something like this.”
The students were dismissed at 1:30 p.m. Students were allowed to be picked up by a parent or to walk home. Students who did not have transportation were provided Katy ISD bus transportation. Students who drove to school and had the keys in their possession were allowed to leave after their car had been cleared. Students, who left their car keys in the building, or bikes near the building, were not allowed to immediately retrieve them.
Parents were asked to pick up their students at Seven Lakes Junior High and all official after-school activities were canceled.
District officials clarified that there were two evacuations in the morning. The campus had proceeded with a regularly scheduled fire drill at 10:05 a.m. The students were evacuated as part of the drill and re-entered the building shortly after.
Once school officials learned of the real threat, the students were evacuated once again for a second time. School officials said the fire drill and the evacuation related to the security threat were unrelated.
School will resume its normal schedule Tuesday, officials said. Students are asked to report to fourth period homeroom.
“School will resume on its normal bell schedule. All SLHS students, including Miller and late arrival students, are asked to report to fourth period homeroom first thing in the morning,” district officials said. “The regular school day will resume after fourth period homeroom. Quizzes and tests scheduled for tomorrow are postponed. Students should check with their teacher for an update on the quiz and test schedules.”
Click here for updates as listed on the school’s website.