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Tohatchi High School placed under lockdown

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GMCS superintendent, MCSO say there was no active shooter, no shots fired


The first day of fall turned into an alarming one for Tohatchi residents.


At an unspecified time on Sept. 23, Navajo Nation Police responded to a call of a male subject intending to harm himself at Tohatchi High School.


The school was placed under lockdown, and police units from multiple jurisdictions responded to the incident, according to Navajo Nation Police. The assisting units included McKinley County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police.


Students from Tohatchi High School and Tohatchi Middle School were escorted to Tohatchi Elementary School, where they followed release procedures implemented by the police and district staff.


District students were all safely released by 5:20 pm. Navajo police and associate law enforcement units are continuing their investigation.


Eyewitness reports stated that shots had been fired at the scene, and reports of a possible active shooter circulated on social media. There were also witnesses who stated seeing smoke coming from one of the buildings.


Another witness, Marv Chavez, of Gallup, said the scene at Tohatchi was chaotic when parents were arriving to pick up their children.


“The scene was so unorganized, when parents were blocking the school entrance and emergency services couldn’t get through,” Chavez said.


However, McKinley County Sheriff’s Office and Gallup-McKinley County Schools Superintendent Mike Hyatt both stated no shots had been fired onsite, nor was there a fire.


“No shots were fired that we are aware of,” Hyatt said Sept. 23. “There was not an active shooter on our campus.”


The Sun will post a follow-up story when more information is available.