Suspicious man near Hartland North Elementary School forces lockdown
WTMJ News Team
Shelley Walcott reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
HARTLAND - Parents dropping off their kids at a Hartland elementary school were likely to be edgy after students say they saw a man with a gun outside the school.
What happened out there is still a mystery as children on a playground say they saw a man with a rifle near woods north of Hartland North Elementary School. And it created major panic in the Village of Hartland Thursday afternoon.
Parents rushed to the school and gathered outside -- desperate to find their children, after hearing reports of a possible gunman.
"Very nerve wracking. I was contacted by another parent and then rushed out here," explains parent Rachel Bodus.
Around 2:30 p.m. two students said they saw a man with a gun.
"Two young children went back in the school -- they were out on the playground -- and reported they had seen a man in the woods just north of the school and he potentially had a rifle with him and they said they heard a 'loud bang,'" says Hartland Police Chief Robert Rosch.
Police cast their net wide, searching nearby woods and streets as the school went on lockdown.
"We went on lockdown to secure the building. We actually did not lock the kids in the room, we just locked the school down," explains Hartland-Lakeview Superintendent Glen Schilling.
A woman -- who didn't want to show her face on camera -- says she saw a man with a gun, near Highway 16.
"He was walking out of the car holding what appeared to be a rifle," says the woman.
Police say they believe that spotting was one of their own officers. And Thursday night, they've called off the search, confident there is no gunman in the area.
It's cold comfort to some parents, who aren't ready to send their children back to school just yet.
"Scary, very scary. They're not going to school tomorrow," explains one mom.
The investigation into what exactly happened Thursday afternoon remains open.