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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2011

Michigan man charged for bringing gun into Islamic Center school

A Michigan man whose vehicle ran out of gas along southbound Interstate 75 in Perrysburg Township has been charged with the illegal conveyance of a firearm into a school safety zone after he entered the nearby Islamic Center of Greater Toledo during the lunch hour.

No shots were fired and nobody was injured during the incident about noon Tuesday, police said. No threats were made, either, officials said.

Ylli Gocaj, 26, of Livonia, Mich., who is a naturalized citizen, was charged with the fifth-degree felony and was being held in the Wood County jail on a $50,000 bond, Perrysburg Township Police Sgt. Mike Munoz said Wednesday morning.

The suspect was carrying a loaded handgun when he entered the Islamic Center, police said.

A teacher saw a man enter the center where 35 students attend classes, and the teacher escorted him to the center's secretary, who was in the lunchroom, and she immediately sensed something was wrong, Cherrefe Kadri, spokesperson for the Islamic Center, said Wednesday morning.

The staff ushered him out of the building, she said, and teachers got the children into the classrooms. “Teachers were told to lock the doors,” and 911 was called. The center's maintenance employee followed the man out of the building.

Nobody at the center realized the man had a gun, but they could tell there was “something wrong,” Ms. Kadri said.

There was no resistance from the man when police arrived, and there was no drama and no threats, she said.

The suspect was standing outside talking to the center's maintenance worker when police made contact with him, Sergeant Munoz said.

Police have not confirmed the suspect's destination. The suspect told police he was en route to Dublin, Ohio, to look at a vehicle. There were no prior arrests on his record, the sergeant said.

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