KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Dozens of parents filled Loy Norrix's parking lot Thursday midday trying to pick up their children after reports of multiple fights broke out.
“It was teachers getting trampled, mase-bombs getting thrown like it was World War I,” said Isaiah Smith, an 18-year-old student at the school. “It was crazy.”
Kalamazoo Public Safety said they and Portage police were dispatched to the school around 11:38 a.m. When they arrived, they found students fighting in the cafeteria. However students said the violence was everywhere: the library, hallways, and in the bathrooms.
“It’s like a Domino Effect,” said Smith. “One domino fall, another one falls. One fight, another one fight. It’s just how it is.”
Police said in a statement that they used pepper spray to stop the fighting. Then the school was immediately placed on lockdown.
“That lockdown was prompted by a student who yelled ‘gun,’” said Alex Lee, executive director of communications with the Kalamazoo Public Schools. “The police officer who was at the cafeteria at the time, and others who responded subsequently, found absolutely no evidence of a gun or any other weapon.”
The lockdown was lifted at 12:19 p.m. but parents were already at the school picking up their children. Some of them, who chose not to speak on-camera, said they found out about the fights on social media.
“I mean it's just chaos in there,” said a parent who picked her son up around 1 p.m. “They didn’t even call me, like the other parent said she seen it on Facebook.”
Parents were upset they weren’t notified by the school or KPS about the lockdown or fights. They received a robo-call about what happened two hours after the lockdown was lifted.
“We had to verify what happened, make sure that we check with the responding police officers and make sure that we had all the information we needed," said Lee about the delay in sending the alert.
One student was arrested, police said, and more maybe coming. They’re currently looking at the school's surveillance tapes to determine who all was involved in the fights and what charges they may be facing.
“Stay humble, count your blessings” said Smith reflecting on what happened.
Anyone with information should call Kalamazoo DPS at 269-337-8994 or Silent Observer at 269-343-2100.