TAMPA — Students were dismissed at Wharton High School just after 4 p.m. Thursday — an hour later than usual — after a student who reportedly saw someone carrying a handgun prompted a lockdown for most of the day, authorities said.
No gun was found after authorities searched, Hillsborough County school district spokeswoman Tanja Arja said.
The report came in a few minutes before 9 a.m. and deputies started sweeping the school, at 20150 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., shortly afterward. Detectives thought the information was credible and searched the school building, athletic fields and a nearby wooded area.
A gun was not found and no charges were pending Thursday evening while detectives conducted follow up interviews, the Sheriff's Office said.
School district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said the district made automated calls to parents throughout the day, including once when officials realized they needed to hold students past the end of the school day.
"It's not a fun day," Hegarty said, "It's full of disruptions. But this is what we do when we hear a rumor like that."
In a separate incident, King High School at 6815 N 56th St. was also placed on lockdown just after 2 p.m. after a student reported seeing one student hand another a handgun, the Sheriff's Office said.
Authorities said one of the two students admitted to having a BB gun. The gun had been taken from the campus and could not be found at the school, the Sheriff's Office said. Authorities turned the matter over to school officials for action.