EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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April 12, 2014

Violence forces city schools into lockdown

Shooting, arrests cause move to protect students

LAWRENCE ­— A city school was briefly put on lockdown yesterday after a man tried to approach the school with a gun.

The Rollins School, at 451 Howard St., was placed on lockdown, but all students and staff were reported safe, said police Chief James Fitzpatrick.

It all started when a Rollins School employee thought he saw a home invasion in a building near the school and called police to report it.

When officers arrived at the house, they said they found a man packaging illegal drugs. The man released a pit bull on the officers, who shot and killed the dog, police said.

The man said he was just visiting friends and instead of going through the front door, he went through a back window. He was charged with possession with intent to distribute of a class B substance near a school.

When the man’s brother, who was also at the house, found out the dog had been killed, he walked toward Rollins School and started yelling in the direction of the school. He was carrying a black handgun, which caused the school lockdown to be ordered, police said.

Rollins School has 170 students in preschool and kindergarten.

The man was arrested by police on the scene before he could reach the school. He was charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

“It was an incident that happened next door to us and I put the school on lockdown, like I would in any such situation,” said Principal James O’Keefe. “The children were not in danger at any time.’’

Police said they arrested both men around noon. They would not release any further information about the men.

While all students were safe, the incident did cause distress for some parents of the children.

“I was worried because I didn’t know what was happening,” said Gisel Marcel ,who has a 3-year-old at the school.

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