Mountain Vista School Lock-Down/Arrests Press Release

First off I’d like to thank the staff of Mountain Vista Middle School for being so on top of a critical situation. The persistence of the teacher when approaching the suspect and the continued demands from the teacher to have the suspect leave the school grounds were exemplary. And Principal Denise Taylor served our community AND children well by making a no nonsense decision to lock-down the school at one of the toughest times (lunch) when all of the kids were out of class.

And great work from the Pinal County Sheriff Deputies that brought this situation to an early end without mishap!

Thank you all so very much!

Get the full press release here.

Be advised, there is a correction to the press release.

Pat McGinnis
Secretary III
Patrol Support
520-866-5184 phone
520-866-5160 fax
>>> Tamatha Villar 5/11/2011 3:59 PM >>>CORRECTION TO ORIGINAL RELEASE:I apologize for this correction, however I was just advised I was provided some misinformation during the relay of facts.Apparently there were 3 suspects involved in this incident. The 2 adults listed in the release DID NOT ENTER THE SCHOOL and ALEX MURRAY was NOT in possession of the weapon.The person who entered the school is 17 years old and was the person in possession of the weapon.  He was referred and booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center charges with Possession of a Firearm on School Grounds, Juvenile in Possession of a Firearm, Trespassing and Incorrigible Juvenile.  He remains in custody.Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Warm Regards,

Lt Villar

So the kid with the gun is a juvenile, which means to me he’ll be out WAY to early from what I’ve seen here. I’m in contact with the PCSO to see exactly what this means. The pics and names are below the press release.


Mountain Vista Middle School Placed on Lock-Down After Teacher Sees Suspicious Man Jumping School Fence, PCSO Catches Two Burglars in the Process

On Tuesday May 10, 2011 at approximately 12:30 PM the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious person/possible burglary in progress occurring in the 3500 block of Allen’s Peak Rd. in San Tan Valley. Patrol officers responded to a call from a 15 year old girl who reported “some” men were trying to break in to her home while she was home alone from school. Deputies responded immediately and were subsequently engaged in a foot pursuit when they observed two male subjects in the area. PCSO deputies immediately apprehended 19 year old Charles James but lost sight of one of the suspects who apparently entered the campus of Mountain Vista Middle School.

The subject was observed jumping over a chain linked fence by a teacher on his way to the cafeteria for lunch duty. There were over 100 students in the cafeteria at the time of the incident. The teacher, not sure if the young man was a student who belonged on campus or an intruder, began to approach the male to inquire what he was doing jumping over the fence.

As the teacher approached the suspicious male, the suspect entered the cafeteria and attempted to blend in with the eighth grade students. The teacher directed another eighth grade student to immediately advise Principal Denise Taylor that there was an intruder on campus. As Ms. Taylor was being informed of the intruder, she observed the teacher attempting to contact the suspicious male. Ms. Taylor immediately contacted the front office and ordered her campus be placed on lock down for the safety of the students and staff. The entire school responded, as practiced throughout the school year with their SRO, and followed all protocol.

The teacher was persistent in tracking down the suspicious male who realized he was being watched and fled out another door, leading onto the campus. At this point the teacher decided the male subject did not belong on campus. The teacher caught up with the male and requested he leave the campus. The male said he was going to and attempted to walk to the back of the campus. The teacher told the male he was not leaving through the back and attempted to escort the male to the front office. As the male was being asked to leave campus through the office, he jumped over the chain linked fence at the front of the school and fled across Mountain Vista Boulevard. The male subject, identified as Alex Murray, 18, was immediately apprehended by PCSO Deputies in the housing area across the street from the school. The suspect was arrested and found to be in possession of a semi-automatic, fully loaded handgun with a chambered round.

Mountain Vista Middle School SRO and PCSO Deputy Delcia Randal said, “Due to the NUMEROUS lock down procedures practiced throughout the school year, Ms. Taylor was able to make a quick decision, without the direction of law enforcement and place her school on lock down. Ms. Taylor did a fantastic job ensuring the well-being of her staff and students and did not release the school from lock down status until I could confirm with PCSO that the suspects were in custody.”

Deputy Randall continued, “This lock down was ordered at one of the worst times possible, lunch time, when students are outside their classrooms in a less controlled environment, teachers in different locations and the School Resource Officer teaching at another campus. I firmly believe because of the school administration’s desire to work closely with me (the SRO) to train and prepare the staff and students and because of the attention, observation and persistence of Mr. Freeman the school PE Teacher and quick actions of School Principal Denise Taylor, at no time was the safety of any Mountain Vista student or staff member compromised. I applaud them for a job very well done!”

Murray and James were booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on 222 counts of Theft and 2 counts of Burglary. Both men are being held, awaiting determination of bond, in the Pinal County Adult Detention Center.

Charles James

Alex Murray



About Jeff

Long time volunteer in the San Tan Valley/Queen Creek area of Arizona.

Posted on May 12, 2011, in From The PCSO, In the news, Press Release and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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