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Published: Friday, 5/9/2014

Toledo school locked down after reports of firearm

Police respond in force, but no one in danger


An off-duty Fostoria police officer who wore his sidearm into a South Toledo school sparked a brief lockdown Thursday morning after a student’s parent spotted the weapon.

The call came in at 8:22 a.m. and Toledo police quickly set up a perimeter around Toledo Christian and neighboring Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and School, but other witnesses told arriving officers the man with the holstered gun had already left the area, Toledo Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.

Toledo police contacted the off-duty officer, who confirmed that he had been at Toledo Christian dropping off his own child at the time the call came in, Sergeant Heffernan said.

The sergeant declined to identify the officer but said Toledo police suggested to him that in the future, he either conceal his gun or wear his police uniform to avoid causing alarm when visiting the school.

“He had a badge on his belt,” but that was overlooked, Sergeant Heffernan said.

The lockdown was lifted about 9:15 a.m.

Scott Salsbury of Perrysburg, with a young son in tow, was one of numerous parents who went to the school after hearing of the lockdown. Mr. Salsbury went to the school after his two children, who are Toledo Christian students, sent him text messages about it.

“I was just hoping to see them, and make sure they’re OK,” Mr. Salsbury said while walking toward the school. But by that time, the son was on the phone to him advising that the crisis was over and everyone was safe.

“He said he didn’t see anything, but it was not a drill,” Mr. Salsbury said, calling the situation “intimidating.”

Sergeant Heffernan said police take no chances with reports such as Thurday’s. “We respond in force, quickly,” he said. “The school did exactly as they should have done. ... All things considered, it went very well today. The kids were never in any danger.”

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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