Elementary school put in lockdown after suspicious sighting in nearby woods

Stevens Elementary School on Louisa Street was in a lock-down mode Monday just before dismissal of the students after security personnel there noticed what they termed a suspicious individual, possibly with a weapon, in the wooded area behind the school, city police said.

Emergency police channels also reported someone saw a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder walking on Rural Avenue, but police officials would not comment on those details.

“We didn’t find anyone in the wooded area or nearby with a weapon,” said city Police Capt. Timothy Miller.

Students were delayed from dismissal by about 40 minutes as their parents and bus drivers waited outside.

Debbra Savage, director of human resources for the Williamsport Area School District, said the lock-down was precautionary after the report of a suspicious individual.

An electronic message that all students and staff were safe and students were being dismissed finally calmed numerous fears.

“Security isn’t sure what was seen,” Miller said to the Sun-Gazette after the incident.

If it were a person carrying a rifle that’s not necessarily illegal, Miller said, adding it also wouldn’t be smart.

Miller said the police appreciated the prompt action taken by the staff at the school and the district and parents for their cooperation and understanding while the search was under way.

“It’s not the first time the school or other schools in the county have been put on lockdown,” said Mayor Gabriel J. Campana, a former teacher at the school.