Wilson unlocking doors at KTC

KEVIN HARVISON | Staff photo

Raymond Wilson, assistant director on the Kiamichi Technology Center's McAlester Campus, releases school door locks from his phone Monday morning. The school was placed on temporary lockdown around 8 a.m. after a man was reported by students to be near the school with what appeared to be a rifle. The school remained on semi-lockdown afterward, with the entrance doors locked and monitored.

Administrators at the Kiamichi Technology Center's McAlester Campus placed the school on lockdown around 8 a.m. Monday after students said they saw a man carrying a rifle near the school.

By 9 a.m., the school was placed on a semi-lockdown after the individual in question was no longer believed to be in the area.

"We went on full lockdown," KTC Assistant Director Raymond Wilson said a little after 9 a.m. He said plans called for KTC to remain on semi-lockdown, which means the entrance doors to the school would remain locked and would be monitored. Students were to resume classes as usual.

The situation arose after students reported seeing a man carrying a gun near the campus.

"A student saw a guy behind a KTC building," said McAlester Police Det. Cpt. Don Hass. "It appeared he had a gun."

A student reported seeing a male in a black hoodie, with the hood pulled up, carrying what appeared to be a camouflaged gun, said MPD Dispatcher Teresa Kapenheimer.

Police were unable to confirm at the time if the man who was spotted was indeed carrying a gun.

KTC officials placed the school on full lockdown while police investigated the matter. Campus administrators later replaced the full lockdown with the semi-lockdown after the possible threat was believed to have subsided.

Police searched along the railroad tracks near the school in an effort to locate the individual. Police said the individual, who was no longer believed to be near the campus, was originally spotted behind the automotive building at the school, although it was uncertain if he was on school property. The individual was later reported to be seen walking along the railroad tracks and another report indicated he had crossed the highway and was headed away from the school.

"They're still looking," Hass said Monday morning.

Clyde Spears, of KTC, said the original report came from a student taking Chuck Campbell's criminal justice class. The person reportedly spotted carrying a gun was not believed to be a student, according to Spears.

Spears said KTC went on full lockdown as a precautionary procedure.

McAlester Public Schools also went on a "soft-lockdown" Monday after learning of the lockdown at KTC. School Executive Assistant Lori Few said the lockdown at MPS was lifted Monday morning.

Police continued to patrol the area Monday morning. Authorities still hoped to locate the individual reported near the school for questioning.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com

Contact James Beaty by email at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

James Beaty is senior editor at the McAlester News-Capital

News editor