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No shooting plot or gang ties seen in arrests of two armed students in Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach, CA - December 05: A parent confronts a Redondo Beach Police officer in the parking lot of Redondo Union High School, after the school was on "lockdown," because of a report of a student with a gun, in Redondo Beach, CA, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. This large police response and security threat, which resulted in another teen being lead away in handcuffs, comes the day after a student was arrested for bringing a loaded, high-capacity hand gun onto campus. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
A parent confronts a Redondo Beach police officer in the Redondo Union High School parking lot, after the campus ordered a lockdown because of a report of a student with a gun on Dec. 5, 2023. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The arrests of two students bringing loaded weapons to Redondo Union High School on consecutive days were not believed to be tied to a planned school shooting or gang-related, Redondo Beach police said Wednesday.

Police provided the update at a virtual safety meeting they hosted along with the Redondo Beach Unified School District in response to the lockdown of the school on two consecutive days. Parents and community members submitted over 350 questions at the one-hour virtual event held via YouTube at 8:30 a.m.

Redondo Beach Police Lt. Cory King said one of the popular questions asked revolved around the intent of the two students.

King said an investigation was ongoing, but “what we do know is that there was no evidence of a planned school shooting, or specific hit list or act of violence threatening a specific individual.”

He also said police have no confirmation that “the students that we've arrested or spoken to have been documented as gang members.”

Despite the unknown motive, Redondo Beach Unified administrators said they'll move to expel the students.

Read more: A day after 10th-grader brings loaded gun to Redondo Union, school goes on lockdown again

“Just to remind everyone, the law dictates that bringing firearms to campus like in this situation … is an expellable offense,” Principal Anthony Bridi said at the meeting. “And we intend to exercise those legal rights.”

The safety meeting came in response to incidents on Monday and Tuesday when two 15-year-old sophomores were each arrested on consecutive days for carrying guns and high-capacity magazines onto campus. Verbal tips to police led to the arrests. No one was harmed and no rounds were fired despite early and incorrect reports Tuesday of a school shooting.

The district canceled Redondo Union High classes Wednesday as police conducted a weapons and explosives sweep with dogs. The school is set to reopen Thursday.

Redondo Union High School was locked down after a report of a student with a gun on campus in Redondo Beach on Tuesday.
Families hugged kids after signing them out to take home from Redondo Union High School after the school was locked down after a report of a student with a gun on campus in Redondo Beach on Tuesday. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

District Supt. Nicole Wesley praised school safety procedures that led to the arrests without any injuries and encouraged students, faculty and staff to immediately report suspicious activity.

“Please continue to speak up,” she said. “This week has proved that ‘see something, hear something, say something’ is not just a slogan, it is a powerful safety tool.”

When students return to campus Thursday, they’ll find officers stationed at school all day and access will be limited to three entry and exit points. Wesley also said the district would be installing metal detectors at the school.

Read more: Redondo Beach high school closed after 2nd student brings loaded firearm onto campus

Redondo Union parent Beau Bowden, 43, said he felt like school leadership “was very on top of communicating with parents on both incidents.”

His 16-year-old daughter, Belle, missed class Tuesday due to a sinus infection, but he said he received timely updates all day.

While his daughter “felt apprehensive” about what happened, she told him she wanted to go back to class Thursday.

Bowden pinned blame on the parents of the two armed students. He suggested that the parents should be arrested and charged, as was the case in a Michigan school shooting by a 15-year-old boy in 2021.

“I grew up in West Virginia, so I’m not anti-gun, but I’m for responsibility,” he said. “These types of gun instances are happening too commonly, and we have to do something to stop them."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.