SALT LAKE CITY — The Latest on student walkouts in Utah (all times local):
A high school south of Salt Lake City went into a brief lockdown after it received a report from authorities about a man carrying a rifle at a nearby convenience store shortly after students had come inside from a walkout to protest gun violence.
Rockwell Charter High School Principal Darren Beck said Wednesday that the lockdown was a precautionary move following school protocol for when anyone is near with a weapon. The man was at gas station about 100 yards from the school in Eagle Mountain.
Beck said the 60 students who participated in the peaceful walkout were all back inside.
Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon says the 21-year-old man was carrying a handgun in a holster and a rifle slung over his shoulder. Cannon says the man didn’t break any laws, make any threats or fire any shots and wasn’t arrested, but deputies asked him to leave at the request of the gas station.
Cannon says the man said he was promoting gun safety. Cannon called it an “ill-advised” decision to do that so close to a school.
Thousands of Utah students at least 30 schools participated in walkouts to protest gun violence and demand change as part of national demonstrations one month after the deadly shooting inside a high school in Parkland, Florida.
At West High School in Salt Lake City, about 500 students gathered outside the front entrance Wednesday morning and listened quietly as student organizers read the names of the 17 people killed in Florida and released one orange balloon for each.
The speakers urged politicians to enact laws to prevent more school violence, including a ban the sale of assault rifles. Elizabeth Love, a 17-year-old senior, teared up as she declared the walkouts are the beginning of a movement that won’t stop until schools are safe again.
The demonstrations lasted 17 minutes — one minute for each of the students and staff members killed in Florida.