Funeral gun salute prompts lockdown at elementary school

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Guam – A lockdown was initiated at Marcial Sablan Elementary School around 10:10 Monday morning. The lockdown procedure was initiated after officials heard gunshots outside the school. It turned out to be a false alarm.

The Guam Department of Education contacted the Guam Police Department which verified that there was a gun salute at the nearby cemetery. Marcial Sablan Elementary School is located in Agat, adjacent to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery.

As of 10:28 this morning, GDOE Public Information Officer Isa Baza confirmed that the all clear was given, lifting the lockdown. Baza also stated that there is no formal agreement in place regarding the notification of gun salutes. Schools utilized the risk-assessment matrix, to determine the threat level and respond accordingly.

The funeral was for a member of the Armed Forces, and with regards to gun salutes, no live rounds were used.

PNC Reached out to the Agat Mayors office which stated it was not aware of any funerals today. Since the cemetery is owned by the Archdiocese of Agana, they are unaware if there is protocol in place regarding the notification of gun salutes. PNC reached out to to the Archdiocese director of Communications, Tony Diaz, who released the following statement.

“The Archdiocese of Agana apologizes for any apprehension or alarm that the school community and especially the children of Marcial Sablan Elementary experienced upon hearing sounds of the gun salute at the nearby Mt. Carmel Catholic Cemetery today. Their reaction is understandable in this day and age. Though we do not have any formal protocols for alerting nearby sites such as schools in advance, the Catholic Church is always learning. We will develop such a protocol, working with village mayors and other partners such as the Guam Veteran’s Affairs Office.

The full honors afforded to any military retiree of 20 or more years of service is fully deserved as is the sacredness of honoring our departed loved ones. We would strive to maintain that dignity and honor as well.

We have spoken directly to representatives of Marcial Sablan and the Department of Education’s central office and have conveyed our sincerest apologies.”