(UPDATE) Paradise Honors evacuated after threatening letter, school deemed safe

Chris Caraveo and Richard Smith
Independent Newsmedia

A threatening letter caused the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to evacuate Paradise Honors High School Thursday afternoon.

According to a statement released by MCSO spokesman Sgt. Calbert Gillett, the charter school found a threatening letter. Paradise Schools Executive Director Tim Gonzales said the campus was evacuated about 1 p.m. Thursday.

“No one was injured and all personnel have been evacuated at this time,” Gillett wrote in an email response to initial inquiries by Independent Newsmedia.

After investigating throughout campus, Paradise Honors was “deemed safe,” Sgt. Gillett stated, and classes resumed. He stated that students and staff were out of the school buildings for approximately two hours.

“Maricopa County Sheriff’s detectives are looking into the content and is working on trying to determine the originator of the letter,” Sgt. Gillett stated late Thursday afternoon. “The sheriff’s office take these treats seriously and will do whatever is necessary to keep the public safe.”

MCSO is the responding authority to the school’s campus at 12775 N 175th Ave. Although the school campus is surrounded by the city of Surprise, the campus remains for now, a county island.

“We take all threats as credible until deemed otherwise. Our usual safety protocol is to involve law enforcement to investigate any threat of violence at our campus,” Mr Gonzales said.

He said numerous deputies and K9 units conducted a very thorough and extensive search which yielded no weapons, explosives, or foreign items.

“We will continue to investigate this false threat and disciplinary actions will be administered to any student found to be involved. I will say I am very proud of our students, staff and parents for the way they handled this situation,” Mr Gonzales stated. “I am also thankful for our tremendous partnership with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, Surprise Police Department and the Rural Metro Fire department who very quick to respond and ensure the safety of our students and staff.”

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