Dozens of Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Deputies were called to Traverse City West High School around 3pm Thursday after a suspicious bag full of knives and ammunition was found in one of the school fields.
According to deputies, a man was mowing the fields at the school when he found the black backpack. When he looked inside, he found survival kit items including a canteen, wrench, vest, swiss army knife, machete, and gun ammunition.
After investigation, deputies decided the bag was an "average survival kit." Officials advised the school that locking down was not necessary, but the school decided to do it as a precaution.
The school and surrounding areas were searched with dogs and no additional suspicious items were found.
Parents at the school for a soccer game Thursday night told 7&4 News the whole situation was handled well. Many of them received a message from the principal earlier in the day alerting them to what had happened.
â??We responded quickly inside our buildings and closed things down as quickly as we can,â?? said Joseph Tibaldi, Traverse City West Senior High Principal. "The safety and welfare of our students are the most important thing that we do every day. We take everything that we do every day. We take everything seriously."
"When you mention ammunition, that does put a different perspective on things," said Randy Winowiecki, a parent from Sutton's Bay. He says incidents like these are becoming increasingly common. "They are popping up a little more frequently now and starting to hit a little too close to home."
Parents endorsed the extra precaution.
"Being that it was close enough and on school grounds, better safe than sorry in that scenario without question," said Winowiecki.
As a parent from the visiting team, Winowiecki said he had no idea the lockdown had happened before showing up for his son's game, but from now on he will check in advance. "It would have been nice to have the coach know and be able to make calls to give us parents a heads up."
Parents tell 7&4 News that their kids are in good hands.
"I guess I'd be a little concerned why it was there or who's carrying it around," said Steve Galoshen, a TC West parent. "I feel pretty confident in the area, pretty confident in the school, pretty confident in the people and the coaches. The people that are around here, they'll be on higher alert. They know what they're doing."
Deputies did not find any other suspicious items during their search. They are considering the bag as simply lost property, there was no identification. Nothing in the bag was illegal.