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Report of man with gun leads to arrest, lockdown at Northampton school

  • Northampton and State Police responded to JFK Middle School early Thursday afternoon for a report of a suspicious person on campus.  —Emily Cutts

  • A police officer carries cases and a box that reads Gamo ACCU Whisper after removing the items from a sedan nearby June 7, 2018 following report of a suspicious person on school grounds at JFK Middle School in Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Sarah Jackson, a parent of two children at JFK Middle School, waits for them outside the Northampton school June 7, 2018 after it was placed on lockdown following report of a suspicious person on school grounds. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Police officers give instructions on how to pick children up from JFK Middle School June 7, 2018 after dismissal was delayed due to a lockdown following report of a suspicious person on school grounds. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bill Miller and Kristel Applebee wait for their daughter to be dismissed from JFK Middle School June 7, 2018 after the Northampton school was placed on lockdown following report of a suspicious person on school grounds. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Brian Turrell, left, is reunited with his sixth-grade son Jonathan Turrell, 12, after dismissal from JFK Middle School was delayed due to a lockdown following report of a suspicious person on school grounds. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Tania Maldonado embraces her stepdaughter, Genesis Otero, after Otero had been released from a lockdown at JFK Middle School after Northampton and state police responded to a report of a suspicious person on school grounds Thursday afternoon. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Tania Maldonado walks with her step daughter, Genesis Otero after Otero had been released from a lock down at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Parents and students wait for pupils to be released from a lockdown at JFK Middle School after Northampton and state police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon. FOR THE RECORDER/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Tania Maldonado embraces her step daughter, Genesis Otero after Otero and other students had been released from a lock down at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Parents and students wait for students to be released from a lock down at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Anabel Rosero, left, walks with her daughter Anaisha Feliciano, 12, after Anaisha had been released from a lockdown at JFK Middle School in Northampton, Thursday. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Parents and students take turns walking into JFK Middle School to pick up students who were waiting to be released from a lock down at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Parents and students wait for students to be released from a lock down at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • John Provost, Superintendent of Northampton Schools, John Cartledge, Northampton Police Captain, and Major Michael Habel with the State Police, at a press conference at JFK Middle School after Northampton and State Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on campus Thursday afternoon June 7, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Police surround a young man in handcuffs sitting on a curb outside of JFK Middle School in Northampton, Thursday, following report of a suspicious person on school grounds. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



For the Recorder
Thursday, June 07, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — City police arrested a man at JFK Middle School Thursday afternoon after the school was put on lockdown for a suspicious individual carrying a gun on campus.

More than a dozen local and state police cruisers responded to the middle school on Bridge Road for the incident. Northampton Police received a report at 2:10 p.m. of a male with a gun in the rear parking lot. The first officer arrived at the school in less than a minute and found the man, according to police.

Northampton Schools Superintendent John Provost said after the incident that the school immediately went into lockdown procedures and that the man never breached building security. After police determined there was no risk to the school, students began to be released, Provost said.

At Northampton High School, where students had already been released for the day, any students who remained on campus were allowed to leave in a controlled release, according to Provost. The district’s elementary schools went into either lockdown or shelter in place until they got the all-clear.

No injuries were reported.

“The students and staff did an excellent job exercising the procedure that we drill on time and time again throughout the year,” Provost said.

Information on the man’s connection to the school was not immediately known and the exact charges he may face as well as his identity were not immediately released. The incident remains under investigation.

By around 2:30 p.m., a young man in handcuffs was observed sitting on a curb surrounded by police near the school’s tennis and basketball courts as police removed items from a sedan nearby. Police said they recovered two air rifles.

Lockdown ends

As the normal release time came and went, parents continued to wait for their students to come out of school. Slowly, they began to be released as the lockdown was lifted.

Students who normally walked or were picked up by parents were released first. One of the first students out of the building’s side door yelled, “Never again am I doing that,” as he walked to collect his bike. As more and more students began leaving the building, some appeared excited and unaffected, yelling “we’re free,” while others calmly walked to their parents.

“I didn’t know what happened,” one student said.

“I tried to call and text you multiple times,” another student said to his parent.