One minor arrested after knife pulled during nighttime fight at West Salem High School

A fight at West Salem High School Thursday night resulted in one person pulling a knife. 

A minor was later arrested, but authorities have not clarified the person’s involvement in the fight.

The incident occurred in a parking lot after Walker Middle School’s promotion event for graduating eighth graders, which was held at the high school, Walker Principal Paul Myers said in an email sent to families Thursday night.

One minor was arrested and lodged in the Yamhill County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton.

Felton said he would not provide details “given that it is an ongoing investigation involving juveniles.”

Myers wrote in his statement that a physical altercation broke out between a group of people in the parking lot. 

“It is unclear at this time what prompted this and it will be investigated. At one point, an individual pulled out a knife,” he wrote.

The principal said that school staff intervened and police responded quickly. “We do not believe there were any reported injuries at this time,” he wrote.

Dispatch records show that police responded to a fight at the school just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Salem Police Department did not respond to written questions about the incident Friday. 

An emergency dispatcher at the time relayed to Salem officers, “One suspect was holding a knife to a victim’s throat,” according to the radio call. 

Salem-Keizer School District spokesman Aaron Harada said at least one person involved was a student but that he had no other information about what happened.

Harada also didn’t know how many people attended the promotional event but said that Walker MIddle School has 189 eighth graders.

Myers wrote in his statement that the school would have heightened security in place on Friday, the last day of school for the year, “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We are following our protocols and are working with our district safety team to investigate this situation further,” he said.

Myers said anyone with safety concerns should inform law enforcement, school administrators or use SafeOregon to make a confidential report by calling or texting 844-472-3367. Tips also can be emailed to [email protected] or submitted on the SafeOregon app. 

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.