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Mother, daughter describes shock during lockdown at Pickerington junior high school

Lauren Riggins said she was scared after Ridgeview Junior High School went into lockdown after a parent took their own life inside the school.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Pickerington police report a man, who is a stepfather to a student at Ridgeview Junior High School took his own life on Thursday.

10TV spoke with Jennifer Riggins and her daughter Lauren, who is a student at the school, and walked us through those moments. 

"It was just a shock for the day...very, very unexpected,” said Jennifer.

"I was getting sad and scared because I didn't know what was going on,” said Lauren. “I was in class and the announcements came out and she was like 'we're in a lockdown right now' and the lady sounded really shaky,” she said.  

Lauren said her teacher immediately locked the door and put a chair in front of it.

Pickerington police said they were called to the school Thursday morning on a report of a possible criminal act by a parent that happened off school property. 

When officers got there, detectives began talking to the man and that's when he pulled out a gun and shot himself.       

“Speaking to my daughter, she says 'I want to cry, mom. I want to cry,' and I told her 'don't cry, you have to pay attention, you know stay alert, stay aware',” said Jennifer.  

Students were evacuated to Pickerington High School Central where their parents picked them up.  

Jennifer said she’s thankful no one else was hurt, students or staff. She is wondering how the school will make sure nothing like this happens again.  

"I think the biggest concern, for me as a parent was that no matter the circumstance behind the parents coming into the school, they were able to enter the school very freely and very comfortably with a loaded weapon,” she said.  

The district said counseling will be available at Pickerington High School Central on Friday between 8:30 am and 12:30 pm. 

If your child left items in the school cafeteria, the district said you can show up between 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. on Friday to retrieve their items. 

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