NBC15 Investigates: Police records detail search for teen that sparked Middleton school lockdowns

NBC15 Investigates has obtained police records showing how the search for a Middleton High School student unfolded.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 10:51 PM CST
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MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV) - Police records obtained by NBC15 Investigates show how the search for a Middleton High School student unfolded, following a report from a staff member to a school resource officer that the student may have had a gun on campus.

On January 24, the report spurred an immediate lockdown of three schools in the district, but according to the superintendent, no weapon was found on campus or in the surrounding areas. Per law enforcement, no weapon was found on the student either.

At the time, authorities said a teen was released after being taken into custody with a referral for disorderly conduct.

After an open records request, Middleton Police Department released notes from its Computer Aided Dispatch system, known as CAD. It is a log reflecting officers’ rough notes of what they heard and saw on scene in real time.

The minute-by-minute account begins shortly before 12:25 p.m., when notes show officers responded to a “possible active shooter situation.”

The log continues, describing what appears to be officers searching inside the school. Tips come in around 12:30 p.m. about a black sweatshirt, gray pants and a black backpack, a possible description of a suspect.

At first, reports indicate the subject is in the library then that they are in a safe room. At 12:39 notes suggest the subject “reported in the school is the wrong...” Redactions leave the rest of the sentence empty.

Then, officials move the command post to the school’s main office at 12:41. A source with nearly two decades in another law enforcement agency tells NBC15 Investigates this move means authorities believe the school is safe.

Officers proceed to run license plates and attempt to contact different people. They have a “visual on Maywood and Bristol,” referring to the intersection outside Middleton High.

Within the minute, at 1:16 p.m., police note “SUBJ 10-95,” implying the suspect is in custody.

Farther down the log, at 1:22, police say there is “no recovery of a 10-32 at this time.” According to NBC15′s source, the code means a gun was not found, confirming what Middleton police said a month ago.

Friday, NBC15 Investigates also spoke with the mother of the student who police took into custody. She said this was a “traumatic” experience for her family and that her child has transferred to another school.

Meanwhile, the family is waiting for a Dane Co. social worker to finish an assessment of the student’s strengths, needs and risks, to then present to prosecutors.

John Bauman, Dane Co. juvenile court administrator, explained how the findings may impact the coming days.

“That recommendation could be for a formal court case, and then court is scheduled after that,” he said. “The decision could [also] be a deferred prosecution agreement, which is an informal agreement outside of the court system. Or it could be a counsel and release, which doesn’t include either of those two [options].”

Bauman also said from his experience, recommendations from social workers are taken up by the district attorney most of the time, but each case is different.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District declined Monday to speak with NBC15.

Meanwhile, some crucial questions still remain unanswered. This includes what the staff member said to the school resource officer that sparked the police response.

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