By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
SALEM — Salem police have Thomas George, 18, in custody about two and a half hours after George allegedly tried to kill his mother with a hammer and knife.
His intended victim, his mother Catherine George, was flown by medical helicopter to a Boston hospital this morning, according to Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.
A hunt for Thomas George quickly focused in Derry, where the green Kia Sophia he was believed to be driving was found running, but abandoned, on Kendall Pond Road earlier.
It is believed George then stole a green Chevy Blazer from Kendall Pond Road and headed back to Cluff Crossing Road in Salem, the scene of the attempted murder.
That's where police found and arrested George, now in custody at Salem police headquarters.
The Chevy Blazer was just towed into police headquarters in Salem.
Schools in Salem and Derry were put on lockdown earlier while the search for George was underway. Salem High then moved from lockdown mode to a shelter in place protocol, which restricts access to the school and cancels outdoor activity.
Pinkerton Academy lifted its lockdown status at about 9:30 a.m., per orders of the Derry police, a school spokesman said.
The intended victim is George's mother, Catherine George, now a Salem resident, but a former resident of Kendall Pond Road in Derry.
Earlier this year, Catherine George reached a plea deal after admitting she gave her brother-in-law a lethal dose of insulin in October 2012. At the time, she was a nurse Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. Her brother-in-law, Randall Percival, was terminally ill and George told police she didn't want him to suffer any longer.
As part of the plea deal, Catherine George permanently surrendered her registered nursing license. She was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but that sentence was suspended for two years on the condition of good behavior.
Police also are still at the scene of the Cluff Crossing apartment where the attempted murder took place.