Police: Armed man arrested after trying to enter school; parents confront officers
EL MIRAGE, Ariz. (Arizona’s Family/Gray News) - Officers in Arizona say an armed suspect has been arrested after he tried to enter an elementary school on Friday.
Arizona’s Family reports three parents, including one who had a gun, were also arrested by police after a confrontation with officers during the incident.
According to authorities, school staff at Thompson Ranch Elementary School called 911 around 10:30 a.m. to report a suspicious man trying to get into the building. The building was immediately placed on lockdown.
As officers arrived, police said the suspect ran away towards the river bottom.
El Mirage police and other law enforcement agencies began searching the school and surrounding areas.
A short time later, El Mirage police reported they could not find the man, but they did locate a suspicious package. Children and staff were cleared from the area. A bomb squad was called in to check out the package and deemed it safe.
El Mirage Police Department Lt. Jimmy Chavez initially described the armed suspect as a Black or dark-skinned Hispanic man with a tattoo on his head, wearing a yellow shirt and black shorts.
According to Chavez, parents started showing up after receiving calls from their kids. Chavez said the school was still on lockdown, and officers told parents they wouldn’t be let in the school.
However, officials said some of the parents became confrontational with police, with a few saying they were going to go in to protect their kids.
Chavez said the situation escalated, and three parents were arrested. Police confirmed one of the parents taken into custody had a gun.
Officers reportedly used a stun gun on two parents, and one had to be taken to the hospital. Chavez said all three parents would be charged.
Paul Novak, the school’s safety consultant, said it was necessary to have parents away from the school while police were investigating.
“It really gives the students and staff the best opportunity for safety while the police search for a suspect or deal with a suspect. We don’t want anyone entering that campus except law enforcement at that point,” Novak said.
The Dysart Unified School District had also placed other area schools on lockdown status, but those have all since been lifted.
The El Mirage Police Department did not immediately identify the armed suspect arrested but said the incident remains under investigation.
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