Photo: Andrew Goff.

UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On 11/28/2023, at about 11:25 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area of McKinleyville High School for the report of male subject, possibly armed with holstered handgun on his waist, entering the high school campus.

As HCSO deputies responded to the area, McKinleyville High School administration was contacted to be advised of the report. Both McKinleyville High School and neighboring Morris Elementary School campuses were placed on lockdown by school administrators as a precaution. Deputies, with assistance of officers from the California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, and Blue Lake Tribal Police began checking the area as contact was made with school officials.

As campuses were being cleared by law enforcement, additional information was received that indicated the possibly armed subject had been witnessed near the intersection of Hwy. 101 and Murray Road and had not been observed entering the high school campus as the initial report was believed to indicate.

After a thorough check of the area and campus, law enforcement was unable to locate the suspicious subject or identify any threat to the students, staff, or neighboring area.

The HCSO would like to thank the allied law enforcement agencies that responded to assist as well as the administration of both schools for their quick response in working to ensure the safety of their students and staff.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.


UPDATE, 1:12 p.m.:Email from Northern Humboldt Union High School Superintendent Roger Macdonald:

At 11:30 am a community member reported to McKinleyville High School administration that they had seen two men with weapons in the vicinity of the high school.  As a precaution the school was immediately put into lockdown and law enforcement called.  The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol responded in force and cleared campus. Students were released for lunch and law enforcement will patrol the neighborhood all afternoon.  

McKinleyville High School, Mad River High School, Independent Study and the District Office staff were all affected. I was impressed with the reaction of all of our staff, admin and students in response to the lockdown and am grateful for the rapid and thorough response of our law enforcement partners.

Student Support Services staff from across the District will be available after lunch in the MHS Library for any student or staff member that was negatively affected by the lockdown.


UPDATE, 12:17 p.m.: Lt. Josh McCall of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirms to the Outpost’s Andrew Goff, on scene, that around 11:25 p.m. a.m. their office received a report of a person with a handgun, possibly walking toward campus. The high school and Morris Elementary both went into lockdown while law enforcement began its response.

McCall says deputies have been searching the area and have been unable to locate anyone matching the description they were given. They’re now in the process of clearing the campus.

“As of right now we are just in the process of continuing to ensure there is no threat at the school,” McCall says. “There’s nothing at this point to indicate that there is.”

The school will remain on lockdown as they continue to clear buildings.


UPDATE, 12:11 p.m.:  A dispatcher was in contact with the person who called in the incident. She reports to field officers that it began when a person was spotted walking down Murray Road with a weapon in a holster. The person was never seen to enter the school, she says. This is per scanner traffic.


McKinleyville High School is currently on lockdown. A few minutes ago, Superintendent Roger Macdonald sent out a message to parents saying that the lockdown was prompted by a “suspicious off-campus threat.”

According to scanner traffic, the Sheriff’s Office is searching the campus and the California Highway Patrol is maintaining a perimeter around the scene.

We have a reporter en route. We’ll update when we know more.