Police say they have identified the 'person of interest' whose attempt to enter Hope High School on Tuesday sent the campus into lockdown and resulted in the evacuation of a nearby college campus.
The man, who has not been identified, is not expected to face any charges.
Police say he is the man who tried to enter the New Tech Building at Hope High School on February 5 around 10 a.m. Students refused to let him in, believing they saw a gun-shaped bulge in the waist of the stranger's pants. They reported his presence to a teacher, who approached the man at the door. The man reportedly asked for directions to the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope.
The man left soon after, but the exchange and the suspicion of the stranger being armed on campus prompted a lockdown at the high school. Authorities at UACCH were also notified, and the decision was made to evacuate the campus.
According to a statement released by Hope Police on Thursday, they were able to identify the man through surveillance video captured on both campuses, identifying his vehicle.
They say their investigation found that no criminal act occurred, nor was criminal intent believed to be present. "It seems that the individual in question, who was from out of town, was scheduled to attend a workshop on the UACCH campus at 10 AM. He was not able to locate the College campus and stopped to obtain directions. UACCH Officers confirmed that this person attended the workshop," says Assistant Chief Kimberly Tomlin.
While the incident caused disruptions on both campuses, Hope Police Chief JR Wilson says there are no regrets for taking the precautions they did. He praised the students for their actions, as well. "I want to thank the young people that observed this event and passed on information they genuinely believed to be accurate and occurring at the time. This is exactly what they should have done. Notifying Police early of potentially threatening events is very important. This affords police the best opportunity to conduct successful emergency response and prevent problems."
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