GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (Gloucestercitynews.net)(June 12, 2019)--Parents and grandparents standing near the Cold Springs around 1 PM today got the scare of their lives when they heard an urgent alert broadcasted over the school's intercom that the buildings were "under lockdown; this is not a drill."
One parent said that a few seconds after the announcement she saw police officers chasing a boy who looked like he was 10 or 12 years old.
"He was running on school property from the Pre-K building towards the main building. The boy tried to open the Pre-K doors to the school but they were locked. There were at least 8 to 10 police officers chasing the boy. I saw something in his hand that looked like a gun. Someone in the crowd said it was a pellet gun. People were running everywhere. It was bedlam. I took a child that was standing there by himself with me and placed him behind a trash can and against the wall. I stood there over top of him. I was scared and shaking. It was surreal. I was impressed with the school security officers and the city police officers. This is a small town and you don't expect things like this to happen. And yet the officers definitely had their act together. I was impressed with their professionalism.
There was a similar incident yesterday at the City's Middle School on Market Street.
Lt. Steve Burkhardt said in both incidents the boys involved were carrying plastic toy guns. No threats were made in either case. Burkhardt said there were eight City Police Officers present at the scene along with two Mt. Ephraim officers and a Camden County Sheriff's Officer that surrounded the kid and took him into custody. "No security officers were involved. It was over in several seconds," said Burkhardt.
Burkhardt released the following prepared statement.
On June 12, 2019 at approximately 1:06 pm, officers were dispatched to the area of Thompson Avenue at Cold Springs Drive for a report of a male, armed with a handgun, walking towards the Cold Springs School. Cold Springs School officials were notified and initiated the lock down procedure, while officers were responding to the area. Officers located a juvenile male, matching the clothing description provided, walking away from the front doors of the school. The (12) year old Gloucester City resident was found to be in possession of a plastic toy handgun. The juvenile never displayed the toy handgun or threatened anyone with the toy. The male was taken into custody for carrying an imitation firearm onto school property and transported to Police H.Q. After further investigation, he was scheduled for station house adjustment and released to a parent. There was a large police response due to the nature of the original report; however, we would like everyone to know that nobody was injured or threatened and we thank the school staff and everyone who was outside at the school during dismissal for their quick response and cooperation.
Earlier this week, on June 10, 2019 at approximately 8:15 am, a vice-principal at Gloucester City Middle School received a tip that a particular student had brought a gun to school and it was in his book bag. An officer at the school at the time was notified and accompanied the vice-principal to the student’s classroom where his book bag was retrieved and he was escorted from the classroom. Inside the book bag, a plastic air soft gun, that is capable of firing plastic pellets, was located. The juvenile never displayed the air soft gun or threatened anyone. The (12) year old Gloucester City resident was taken into custody for carrying an imitation firearm onto school property and transported to Police H.Q. After further investigation, he was scheduled for station house adjustment and released to a parent.