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San Tan Valley school put on lockdown after suspect gets on campus

The Combs Middle School campus was placed on lockdown after a man trying to outrun deputies got onto school property.
Credit: 12 News

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. — Combs Middle School was placed on lockdown Tuesday morning after a man trying to outrun law enforcement got onto school property. 

The incident began at about 9:15 a.m. after the Pinal County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle near Kenworthy and Combs roads. A passenger in that vehicle had a warrant for their arrest, prompting him to jump out and run toward the middle school, according to J.O. Combs Unified School District. 

The man scaled a fence and trespassed onto school property. 

Combs Middle School was put on lockdown until deputies took the man into custody and the campus was searched for weapons. The lockdown has since been lifted.

"PCSO has deemed that there is no threat to the staff and students on campus, however parents are now able to pick up their students should they wish to do so," the district wrote in a statement.

A firearm was later found under a parked vehicle on the school perimeter by school security and the weapon was turned over to PCSO. The district said no students were near where the firearm was found.

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What is the Valley?

“The Valley” is what locals call the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is considered the largest metropolitan area in the Southwest. 

The Valley is made up of various major cities other than Phoenix, including:

  • Mesa
  • Chandler
  • Scottsdale
  • Tempe
  • Glendale
  • Surprise
  • Peoria
  • Gilbert
  • El Mirage
  • Avondale
  • Litchfield Park
  • Goodyear
  • Buckeye

Whether a city is in the “East Valley” or “West Valley” depends on where it is in relation to Phoenix.

The cities of the Valley have a combined population of 4,845,832 people, according to the 2020 United States Census. This makes it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country right behind the Boston and Atlanta areas.

How big is Maricopa County?:

Maricopa County is the United States’ 4th largest county in terms of population with 4,485,414 people, according to the 2020 Census.

The county contains around 63% of Arizona’s population and is 9,224 square miles. That makes the county larger than seven U.S. states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire).

One of the largest park systems in the nation is also located in Maricopa County. The county has an estimated 120,000 acres of open space parks that includes hundreds of miles of trails, nature centers and campgrounds.

The county’s seat is located in Phoenix, which is also the state capital and the census-designated 5th most populous city in the United States.

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