- The Washington Times - Monday, November 7, 2005

Prince George’s County authorities locked down an elementary school yesterday after a police officer on patrol spotted a person in a black jacket and a ski mask carrying what appeared to be a long gun and trying to open the school’s front doors.

After an extensive search involving dogs, helicopters and scores of officers, police did not find the person, the gun or the mask.

The incident occurred about 11:15 a.m. outside Arrowhead Elementary School at 2300 Sansbury Road, said Sgt. Tammy Sparkman, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County police.

When the officer doubled back, the person had gone into nearby woods, she said.

“There is no indication any shots were fired,” Sgt. Sparkman said, adding that no one was allowed in or out of the school as officers fanned out in search of the person.

Police blocked traffic until about 4 p.m. on each side of Sansbury Road, diverting vehicles and leaving residents outside the perimeter unable to get to their homes.

Officials asked parents who showed up at the school to gather at a nearby park, while students were taken to the school’s gymnasium and the building’s exterior doors were locked.

Additional police patrols will be in effect today, and classes will resume as scheduled.

Kelly Alexander, a spokeswoman for the county school system, said the children were safe at all times yesterday.

If the person the officer saw did have a gun, he or she may have been coming from someplace else and trying to evade the officer, she said.

“I just don’t want to have parents thinking that his original intention was to get in the school,” Miss Alexander said.

Maylisa Edmonds, whose daughter, Alissa, attends kindergarten at Arrowhead Elementary, lives a few blocks away. She said the neighborhood is a safe place.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in this area,” she said. “It’s a great place to raise your kids.”

Parents began retrieving their children at about 3 p.m. Some children complained of being hot, tired or frightened, but the relatives seemed to be more anxious than the students.

“I’m just glad it’s over with. We were very worried,” said Lois Holland, who picked up her grandchild from the school.

Charles George Sr. left the school with his son, Charles Jr.

“I was nervous at first, but when I got here, Prince George’s County police told me what was going on. It was fine,” he said.

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