HOMESTEAD, Fla. – South Dade Senior High School was temporarily placed on lockdown Thursday morning after the school and multiple police agencies received various reports about someone riding a dirt bike near the school with what appeared to be a long rifle strapped to his back, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at a news conference.
According to Carvalho, the callers were able to give authorities a clear description of the suspect and some feared the person on the dirt bike was a student because he was wearing clothing that matched the colors of the school uniform.
Police locked down the school as a precaution as authorities searched the campus. A heavy police presence could be seen on and near school grounds.
Cellphone video showed officers going room to room with their guns drawn.
“As a result of the lockdown, police came to the school,” Carvalho said. “They inspected the school -- every single classroom, every single hallway.”
The lockdown was lifted just before 10 a.m. Hundreds of parents went to the school during the incident, according to the superintendent.
“It is just concerning. It is scary,” one parent, Zenaida Dominguez, said. “I immediately came over here to make sure everything was OK and see how close I could get to the school.”
Students said staff made them feel safe during the ordeal.
Carvalho said within an hour and a half after the lockdown was lifted, authorities arrested a 23-year-old man in a nearby neighborhood, who they said was the person spotted riding the dirt bike.
He was identified by police as Christian Louis Edinger.
According to Carvalho, the suspect was in possession of an AR-15 that was confiscated by authorities. He said the suspect was not affiliated with the school nor targeting anyone at the school.
Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ed Lopez said the weapon had no magazine or bullets and the suspect was being a “show-off” by riding around with it.
According to his arrest report, Edinger told police he had gone to his brother’s home with his AR-15 around 4 a.m. because his brother was having problems with people.
The barrel of his assault rifle was protruding from his backpack as he rode home later in the morning, which caused the scare at the nearby high school, authorities said.
Police said Edinger showed officers his firearms that he had stored in a hard case under his bed, which included a shotgun, a Colt AR-15 carbine and a Beretta 9-mm handgun.
All of the guns were impounded as evidence.
Edinger faces charges of improper display of a firearm and disruption of a school function.
According to his arrest report, Edinger was very apologetic to officers and acknowledged that his actions were criminal.