Update: 10 students exposed to tear gas after San Juan Police Department training accident
Editors' note: This article has been updated throughout.
A training accident at the San Juan Police Department shooting range exposed 10 students, a teacher and several parents to tear gas Wednesday.
The police department hosted a SWAT training Wednesday afternoon at the shooting range, which is located near the intersection of Hall Acres Road and South Veterans Boulevard in San Juan.
The training involved tear gas. Ten students, a teacher and several parents at the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District agricultural farm were exposed to the gas, according to district spokeswoman Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez.
"I'm supposed to get a full report today," said San Juan City Manager Ben Arjona.
Police Chief Juan Gonzalez released a statement about the incident on Thursday morning.
"As always we take into consideration anyone at the AG Farm close to our training area and we didn't see anyone in the immediate area," according to the statement. "About an hour later we got a call that two students had been exposed to the indirect exposure of our CS."
Police sometimes call tear gas "CS gas" because of the key chemical component: 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile. Tear gas causes respiratory distress, but isn't supposed to inflict permanent damage.
After hearing about the incident, Arjona said he called the San Juan Fire Department and requested an ambulance for the students.
"There were approximately ten students, one teacher and several parents at the PSJA Ag Farm yesterday afternoon tending to the animals when they were exposed to tear gas coming from a nearby police training facility," according to a statement released by the school district. "Two students were taken to the hospital, others did not show any symptoms at that time, but some have visited their family doctor as a precaution. Students taken to the hospital were evaluated and released."
Gonzalez said the police department works with the school district to avoid potential problems.
"We work very well with the PSJA school district on making sure no one gets exposed or hurt when we conduct live fire," according to the statement from Gonzalez, who added that the police department hadn't had any previous problems with tear gas training.
Gonzalez said the department would not conduct any trainings with chemical agents while the city reviews what happened.