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Man With Gun Prompts Security Scare At Westchester County Schools

Man Left Without Incident After Being Confronted By Campus Supervisor
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Schools in Mamaroneck and Rye Neck went into “lock-out” mode Thursday after an armed man tried to get into Hommocks Middle School.

However, officials said that Friday activities and classes will resume “as usual” following the incident that rattled plenty of nerves.

“At no time did the individual seem aggressive. He said that he worked in a security firm and realized it was a bad decision to carry a weapon. He said he would leave school grounds and he did on his own,” Mamaroneck School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaps said.

The Mamaroneck School District alerted parents that the “suspicious male attempted to enter the locked side door of the Hommocks Pool entrance.”

With pool door locked, the man went to the main entrance and was then confronted by a campus supervisor, who asked for identification and noticed the man had a gun underneath his coat, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

The unidentified man told the supervisor he works in the security field, which was why he was carrying the gun, according to the Mamaroneck School District.

The campus supervisor told the man he couldn’t stay on school grounds and the man immediately left without incident, CBS 2’s Schneider reported.

“We had an extensive police presence at all of our schools for the remainder of the day,” Debbie Manetta said.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the police in all three of our district’s municipalities.  The police will have a visible presence at our schools throughout the day tomorrow,” Superintendent Shaps said in a letter to parents on Thursday.

The man said he was looking for the lost and found, a district spokesperson said. Officials said the man had left some clothing at the school after a visit there over the weekend when the school pool was open to the public.

Police were called and responded to the school, the Mamaroneck School District said.

All afternoon and evening after-school activities were canceled as a precaution.

The middle school also enacted two new security measures that call for locking all doors expect the main entrance. They now also check visitor IDs. Those precautions were enacted during Thursday’s incident.

The “lock-out” mode, in which no one was allowed to enter or leave schools, was a frightening experience for both students and parents.

Zachary Owen was inside the school when the incident happened around 1 p.m.

“I just know that a bunch of my friends were getting texts from older siblings saying ‘Are you OK?’ and then we heard there was lock-in,” Owen said.

“I think this is crazy after what happened in Connecticut. I’m like ‘Oh my God’ and should I send my kids to the school or they should stay home?” said parent Maria Kenyon. “It’s just crazy, you know?”

Grace Perry has two children who attend the middle school and said the call from the school district has her concerned.

“I got scared, I have to admit I got very frightened at first. And then as long as I heard that there was no injury and it was a precautionary situation, I felt better,” Perry told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Students learned about the lock-out through an announcement over the school’s public address system.

“I was a little surprised and scared but then I realized I’d be fine. There’s enough people guarding the school,” an eighth grader told Haskell.

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