Local police are trying to identify a group of eight teens who gained access to Park City High School last week. In particular they are looking for the one who grabbed a javelin and tossed it toward a group of about 10 preschool-aged children who were playing outside.
None of the children were injured and the teens fled the area immediately, but the incident has raised serious concerns about campus security.
According to the Park City Police Department, the suspects were caught on school security cameras and officers are actively using the footage to track down the perpetrators. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
The video footage shows the group entering Park City High School at around 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 31. According to the police, they wandered around the school for approximately 30 minutes before discovering the javelin in a carrying case.
One of the suspects grabbed the javelin, went outside, and hurled it. It is unknown whether he aimed intentionally toward the children or not. At that point the suspects ran from the scene and used two cars to escape from the area.
Police issued this description of the vehicles: a copper or tan, 1990s, Mercury Sable and a red, late-model two-door Jeep Wrangler with a black hardtop.
The prime suspect who threw the javelin is described as a male juvenile of average height and build with dark hair. He was wearing a black T-shirt with a purple and white graphic on the front, tan pants, a black baseball cap and black shoes.
The video has been shown to several groups of students but they have not been able to identify the boys in the group. As of Monday, April 7, Park City Police Capt. Phil Kirk said there have been no further leads in the case.
Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley, whose son previously attended the preschool on the high school campus, said she was concerned. "It could have been disastrous," she said. However, she added, the school is a busy public space. "We have sporting events and after-school activities. The side doors are locked but the front door is not."
In the wake of the incident, Conley said the district has been working hand in hand with the Park City Police Department. "We are seeking the person who did this. Our job is to maintain safety."
Park City High School Vice Principal Bob Edmiston said staff initially reviewed the video footage thinking the students might be from their school, but they were unable to identify anyone. The tape was then shown to administrators in neighboring districts including Wasatch, North Summit and South Summit.
"All three principals came back and said those are not our kids," he said.
Edmiston echoed Conley's comments about the challenge of maintaining public access while also protecting the students.
"At the end of the school day there is a lot going on - sports events, community education. But we are at a point in public schools where vigilance can't be taken lightly. This is a reminder that we have an ongoing challenge to create safe access and maintain appropriate procedures."
Edmiston also praised the efforts of the school's resource officer Corey Allinson. "Corey has been tireless. He has done more than we could have asked. As soon as the group left they got the video so we had that information."
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Officer Corey Allinson through PCPD Dispatch at 435-615-5500.