Wakelon Elementary on, off lockdown

amoody@newsobserver.comApril 8, 2014 

— Wakelon Elementary School was placed on lockdown for nearly four hours Tuesday while investigators searched for a suspect in a nearby break-in.

Nothing out of the ordinary occurred on the campus during the school day, but Capt. Jimmy Stevens of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office said no arrest had been made when the lockdown was lifted about 1:30 p.m.

Stevens said the crime took place off Pippin Road north of Zebulon, where Wakelon Elementary is located.

“We were tracking a breaking and entering suspect and were not able to apprehend him at this time,” Stevens said. “We called the immediate search off. We’re still working the case, just an active search is not going on right now.”

Wakelon Principal Tad Sherman said the school was notified the suspect may be in the vicinity about 9:45 a.m., triggering a code yellow lockdown.

That designation means danger is located in the vicinity but there is no major threat on the school grounds, according to Sherman. All exterior doors are locked an no one is permitted to enter or exit the school except for law enforcement and school staff on rare occasions, he said.

Students and teachers saw little change in their daily routine.

The notification by law enforcement came before any outdoor physical education or recess periods took place. Student activities were confined to the inside of the building as a precautionary measure even after the lockdown ended.

“I’m actually really proud of the staff and the students on how they responded to the situation because they acknowledged the code yellow and kept right on moving forward,” Sherman said.

Sherman sent parents a status update through a phone notification system as soon as the lockdown was lifted. He said the top priority during the lockdown was making sure staff and students were safe.

“From a parent’s perspective I understand full and well why parents would be concerned that they weren’t contacted earlier, but that was at the request of law officials so as to not hinder their investigation,” he said. “As soon as we received confirmation, we were immediately on the phone letting parents know.”

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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