All schools in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District in Westchester County, N.Y. were locked down Thursday afternoon after a man carrying a gun tried to enter through a locked door at Hommocks Middle School.
The man left peacefully, but the fear of a potential shooting led the district to bar anyone from entering or leaving the school, administrators wrote in an email to parents just after 2 p.m. Thursday.
The gun-toting visitor couldn’t get into the side door so he went to the main entrance, where he was approached by the campus supervisor. The guard asked the unidentified man for his ID before noticing the gun in his waistband.
“The individual responded that he works in the security field and acknowledged that he was armed with a gun. When told he could not remain on school grounds, he immediately left the building,” the email states.
The man told the campus supervisor that he was attempting to retrieve an item he left at the school’s pool over the weekend. According to Lt. Robert Koziak, the supervisor described the interaction as “pleasant,” NBC New York reports. The man, wearing a black jacket, quickly left the grounds, but now police are looking to speak to him.
The email, written in all-caps, was dispatched to spread word of the incident, which the district indicated happened around 11:30 a.m. The message noted that the situation was no longer a threatening one, but all schools in the Mamaroneck district were put into a lock-out situation, allowing no one inside or out.
The email requested that parents not come to pick up their kids until the end of the school day. School administrators dispatched police officers to all four schools in the district and also opted to cancel all evening activities. The email noted that police presence would remain at the schools through Friday morning.
While the situation was quickly controlled and the man appears to have posed no threat to students, school authorities are taking no chances in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting on Dec. 14. The similarities are striking, after all: 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School by breaking in through a locked door, proceeding to shoot 26 people inside before taking his own life.
The Mamaroneck Union Free School District’s website contained no word of the lockdown situation as of Thursday afternoon, but its latest news was of a Dec. 20 safety meeting in the wake of the Connecticut shooting that happened just 60 miles northe. “Visitors must have a pre-arranged meeting with someone at the school, and their names will be required in advance by the person they are meeting with,” the district’s newly updated protocol explained.