Report of weapon on campus prompts 2-hour security sweep at Miami Beach school, police say

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Officers locked down Miami Beach Senior High School on Wednesday afternoon for about two hours to conduct security sweeps after the city’s 911 call center received a report of a threat.

“The caller alluded that there was a weapon on campus,” Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez said.

According to the Miami Beach Police Department, officers didn’t identify a valid threat and decided it was safe to dismiss the students just before 4 p.m.

An aerial view of Miami Beach Senior High Schools shows officers prepare for a security sweep on campus Wednesday afternoon. (WPLG)

Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements responded to the school within minutes.

“It was a threat that was made from somebody who indicated they were in the school,” Clements said. “We immediately went ahead and responded, set up a perimeter, command post.”

Officers with Miami Beach, Miami-Dade, and the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department worked together. Some were heavily armed. There were MDPD officers in a helicopter and police dogs.

Officers surrounded Miami Beach Senior High School during a security sweep on Wednesday afternoon.

Students waited with their teachers in the classrooms.

“In the first hour, I was really stressed, but after I heard the cops I felt like it was like under control,” Joaquin Cardenas, a student, said after dismissal.

Jetsy Perez, an anguished mother, was among the parents who waited outside of the school. She said her 15-year-old daughter called her terrified and told her she was hiding under a desk.

“They don’t tell them anything. They hear noises. They don’t know what’s going on,” Perez said. “It’s the worst feeling. It’s like you’re here and you can’t do anything. You’re the mom and you can’t even go inside.”

Police officers surrounded Miami Beach Senior High School during a security sweep on Wednesday afternoon. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

Matthew Haber, a 12th-grade student who is getting ready to graduate, said he was afraid when he saw a security guard open up the gate for a police officer with his emergency lights on. He said he “was a little freaked out” when he learned the school was in a code red lockdown.

“Just going to school in the United States in the current state of affairs is a little scary,” Haber said. “But seeing stuff like this, you can hear the police officers everywhere, it isn’t the most settling learning environment.”

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About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.