'Shot' at SKHS draws police action
April 9, 2009 · 10:35 AM
A Port Orchard resident who was testing old ammunition on Wednesday afternoon prompted calls to the police from two bus drivers who mistook the resulting sound for gunfire.
Leland B. Worth, 65, who lives next to South Kitsap High School, was in his garage shortly after 2 p.m. when he hit a .45 caliber shell casing with a hammer, presumably to see if the rounds were still good.
The sound was heard by two bus drivers who called the school.
The school in turn called the police with an unspecific report.
There was no imminent danger, and the school was not put on lockdown.
Nonetheless, all available patrol cars sped to the location of the house, at 1654 Wolves Rd, and parked nearby.
The house is at the end of a dead-end street that is directly across from the school.
Cmdr. Geoff Marti said the bus drivers heard the noise and saw that Worth had something in his hand “that could have been a handgun.”
One of the officers carrying an automatic rifle left the scene shortly after arriving, telling Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend to “call me back if any shots are fired.”
Worth told the officers he owned a gun but it was not in the garage.
The police then asked to inspect the gun to determine it had not been recently fired.
“It was probably not a good idea to do something like this when school was being dismissed,” Marti said.
Worth was not cited, and no action was being taken at this time according to Marti.
Townsend said that the call came in during shift change, which is why seven officers responded. Townsend said that sending all available officers to the scene was the proper reaction, considering the potential threat.
“Based on the call that a man had a gun near a high school with 2,800 students this was the right thing to do,” he said. “If it had turned out to be valid, we would have needed more than seven officers to contain the situation.”