COWICHE, Wash. — A farmer taking potshots at rodents prompted a lockdown at an elementary school and a police response Wednesday morning.
Marcus Whitman Elementary School, part of the Highland School District, was locked down from about 9:45 until 10:40 a.m. while Yakima County sheriff’s deputies investigated reports of shots heard near the school’s east playground. Students were in recess and on the playground when the report came in.
Yakima County sheriff’s Sgt. John Durand said a perimeter around the school was established with help from the Washington State Patrol, Tieton police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. A security sweep determined all students and staff were accounted for.
Durand said deputies determined the source of the gunfire was a farmer shooting rodents in a field about three-quarters of a mile away.
“With the continuing concern over school violence and safety, citizens should be aware and use good judgment when making decisions to target-practice or shoot near a school — especially while school is in session,” Durand said in a statement.