COAHOMA — A Coahoma High School student was taken into custody late Friday afternoon following an alleged assault that led to the lock down of the campus and a earch of the area that included support from the Texas Department of Public Safety Aircraft Division.
Law enforcement officials spent much of Friday afternoon searching the area in and around Coahoma High School for the teenage student who, according to witnesses, attacked a female student before fleeing the campus on foot.
The teen was taken into custody at the old Coahoma Motel — located on the N. Service Road of Interstate Highway 20, south of the high school — at approximately 3:50 p.m., said Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker.
According to law enforcement officials, the juvenile suspect — who is not being identified at this time due to his age — possessed a knife and a pair of brass knuckles at the time of his arrest.
“Through further investigation, that was unknown at the time of the assault, it was determined that the brass knuckles were used in the commission of the assault,” Parker said Friday, following the youth's arrest. “The juvenile suspect is being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and is currently being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Midland. The victim in the assault has been taken to a local hospital for treatment and was found to be in satisfactory condition.”
The altercation between the two students was reported at approximately 7:45 a.m. Friday and set off a chain of events that caused school officials to lock down the campus, Parker said.
“A 15-year-old male student assaulted a 15-year-old female student by striking her in the face and head four to five times,” Parker said. “Following the attack, the suspect took a backpack into the restroom and changed into camouflaged clothing and boots and exited the school property to an unknown location. Upon the initial investigation, law enforcement personnel determined reason for concern for the safety of the students.
“A decision was made by law enforcement and school officials that it was in the best interest of the students to place the school on lockdown status. Once the perimeter was secure and officers believed there was no threat inside the school property, it was then determined to be in the best interest for students and family that school be let out early.”
Students were dismissed shortly after 2 p.m., according to school officials.
Deputies with the HCSO, along with officers with the Big Spring Police Department and officials with the Glasscock County Sheriff's Department, were posted throughout the campus while students were being dismissed. Parker also confirmed the Texas Department of Public Safety Aircraft Division was also called in to assist with the investigation.
“Given everything that has happened in schools lately, I think it's safe to say everyone is on edge,” Parker said, referring to the shooting Monday in Chardon, Ohio, that claimed the lives of three students. “We wanted to make sure we took every precaution.
“We brought the DPS helicopter in to help us look for the male student who fled, but we mainly called it in to help us keep an eye on things so we could get all of the students off the campus safely. It's the same reason we welcomed the help from the Glasscock County Sheriff's Office when they offered their assistance. There was a tremendous amount of ground to cover.”
Parker said the helicopter searches were called off shortly after it was confirmed all students had safely left the campus or had been bused away.
“We're very thankful for the hard work and resources from the area law enforcement agencies that assisted us in this investigation,” Parker said.