Duluth East High School went into lockdown Tuesday morning, and a student was taken into custody.

The lockdown was lifted by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

According to district spokesperson Katie Kaufman, the school was locked down at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after a staff member found ammunition in a student's locker. The Duluth Police Department was contacted, and the school was put on lockdown while the student was taken into custody, a news release said.

Families have been updated, and the school and students are safe, Kaufman said.

Police completed their investigation while the school was on lockdown for nearly two hours.

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"Duluth police do not believe there is an additional threat to students or staff at this time," a news release from the police department said.

In a press conference later Tuesday afternoon, Duluth Public School Superintendent John Magas said the loaded magazine with 9 mm ammunition was found while school staff were searching the student's locker due to an incident connecting the student with a vape pen.

Duluth Public Schools Superintendent John Magas provides an update on the lockdown at Duluth East High School in a press conference late Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Teri Cadeau / tcadeau@duluthnews.com)
Duluth Public Schools Superintendent John Magas provides an update on the lockdown at Duluth East High School in a press conference late Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Teri Cadeau / tcadeau@duluthnews.com)

"There was a situation which provided a reason to conduct the search," Magas said. "We don't generally do random searches for things like that. So in this case, there was something that was seen by staff which prompted the locker search."

After the magazine was found, staff followed protocol and contacted the police. Around 14 police officers responded to the scene, according to Chief Mike Tusken, and helped sweep for devices. A K-9 explosives unit was brought in to sniff out any traces of gunpowder.

"Kallie (the K-9) helped expedite our search and we were not able to find a firearm, so we returned the school back to some sense of normalcy in short order," Tusken said.

Following the incident, students were able to return to an abbreviated class schedule or had the option of returning home for the rest of the day. Magas also said the school provided additional mental health support for students who needed someone to talk to after the incident.

The 16-year-old male suspect was arrested for being a prohibited person having possession of ammunition, according to Tusken. As he is a juvenile, few other details about the suspect are available. The student could face criminal charges, but Tusken said those would have to be brought by the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.

Likewise the student could face school disciplinary actions, which Magas said would have to be considered later.

"There's a broad range of possibilities," Magas said. "We'd want to consider the individual circumstances and determine what's appropriate. That could include suspension and consideration for a disciplinary hearing."

Magas thanked the police, students and staff for their response to the situation.

"We're very proud of the administration at East for their quick work today and for the staff for supporting students in lockdown," Magas said. "We're thankful for the school resources officers and the rest of the police support who helped with the investigation. And thank you to our students for responding well through the incident, ensuring we were able to provide safety for all on our campus."

East had a lockdown just over two years ago, April 5, 2019, due to threats of violence being made against Duluth schools, causing buildings to lock down district-wide.

Travis John Anthony Warner Busch, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of making threats of violence and one count of being in possession of a machine gun conversion kit in connection with the incident.

This story was last updated at 5:50 p.m. April 13 with information from a press conference from Duluth Police and Duluth Public Schools. It was originally posted at 12:25 p.m. April 13.

This story was updated at 12:55 p.m. April 15 to correct the age of the suspect.