Armed teen prompts lockdown, search

September 30, 2009 8:04:51 PM PDT
A juvenile found near school grounds with a loaded handgun prompted a lockdown at Newark Memorial High School Wednesday.

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SWAT teams were still on scene and the last of the students were being released to their parents Monday evening, following the lockdown that lasted most of the school day.

A group of about seven school-age teens was seen a few blocks from school, prompting a resident to alert police. When police arrived on scene, three of the teens were detained, the others fled towards the school. One of those detained, a 16-year-old Union City boy, was found to have loaded handgun and was arrested.

On the report that as many as four, possibly armed teens were seen heading towards the school, the campus was placed on lockdown while police officers and SWT team members searched the area room by room. text messages were sent to parents, alerting them to the lockdown.

"The first thing I heard was that they were on lockdown, the next text I got was that they came over the ludspeaker and told the kids not to dial 911 nor call their parents" parent Janine Pietrovono said.

But a flood of text messages kept coming, amny of rumors that left parents on edge.

"He was calm but he said that he'd heard rumors about there being somebody being held hostage in the Home Ec class," parent Margarita McElvogue said.

Police had parents gather across the street from the school in the Newpark Mall parking lot and offered frequent updates about the facts they had.

"There was no shots on campus, nobody was injured; there's rumors going around that there's a hostage situation in there, that is not the case," Newark Police Commander Bob Douglas said.

After each classroom was searched for possible intruders, the students were cleared to leave and released to the gym and then their parents 20 at a time.

Police did not find any of the other suspects on the campus.

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