Police identify student who made false report that prompted Austin High School lockdown

Zenas Todd Jenkins is accused of making a false report claiming there was an armed man at Austin High School, police said.

The El Paso Independent School Police Department identified the student accused of making the false report that prompted a lockdown at Austin High School as Zenas Todd Jenkins.

Austin High School was placed under lockdown Thursday morning after reports of an armed man in the area, according to school district officials.

The high school in central El Paso was placed under a lockdown around 8:15 a.m. Thursday, and the lockdown was lifted by noon, according to district spokesman Gustavo Reveles Acosta.

According to Chief Victor Araiza, with the El Paso Independent School District police department, 17- year-old Jenkins falsely reported that a man who entered the campus was armed.

Jenkins admitted to making the story up. He was arrested and charged with filing a false police report, Araiza said.

Araiza said there have been ongoing issues with a group of students, including Jenkins who made the story up.

"This particular individual took this as an opportunity to make an accusation against this other person, the individual who came to the campus," Araiza said.

Police said there was video of the two on campus, but it wasn’t released to the media.

According to Araiza, the person that was accused of having the weapon is a former student who recently dropped out. Araiza said he entered the campus with an Austin High School student.

He is going to be issued a criminal trespass warning advising him he is not allowed on campus, Araiza said.

Araiza said the ex-student was able to get into the school because it happened during a busy time when students are entering classes. There are security measures in place at EPISD campuses , Araiza said. Upon entering any campus, visitors must swipe their ID on a machine to keep their visit on record.

"The concern of the safety of the student and the parent's concern comes first. This is not characterized as a training exercise or something we would characterize as practice. We don't want to traumatize our students or parents. This is very serious to make an accusation like that, and that is exactly why we are bringing criminal charges that are very serious criminal charges that are a state jail felony," Araiza said.

Students were shaken by Thursday's events.

"They said it was like a practice like all the time but when the police came in we knew that it was real," Kimberly Sanchez, a student, said.

"It was pretty scary but we've already had practice drills before this year so we did the same thing that we do the practice drill," Selina Rodriguez, a student, said.

Parents were allowed to pick up their students before the end of the school day if they chose, officials said.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off