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Shoreline Schools Cancel Class Following Reported Sighting Of Armed Man

Bellamy Pailthorp

The Shoreline School District locked down its schools in the district just north of Seattle for about two hours on Wednesday morning after a school food service employee saw a man reportedly carrying a rifle near a district preschool.

District spokesman Craig Degginger said the employee called 911 and the district closed all its schools while King County sheriff's deputies looked for the man. Schools were closed from just before 8 a.m. to just after 10 a.m.

The district said children were all safe during the search. Students who were on buses were taken to the Spartan Recreation Center where they could be picked up.

There are 14 schools plus the preschool in the district. Degginger said both high schools had already opened when the incident began. Other students were on their way to school and some were still at home.

Following the lockdown, a mix of relief and frustration filled the Spartan Recreation Center. Parents lined up outside two buildings, waiting for information on how to find their kids.

Credit Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU
Diana Neilson and her daughter, Bailey Frisbee.

Diana Neilson hugged her daughter Bailey Frisbee, an eighth-grader at Einstein Middle School, who was on the bus when news of the lockdown was announced over an intercom. The student said the announcement brought to life one of her worst fears, but she was relieved to be reunited with her mom.

“Now I feel safe. There was a policeman with a rifle outside and it looked like they were pretty prepared for anything. So I feel really safe now that I’m here,” Bailey said.

Neilson praised the school district for keeping people calm and her daughter out of harm’s way in the face of a very confusing situation.

“We’re just really glad that nothing happened and everybody’s safe,” she said, choking up as she spoke.

Other parents whose children were already at school when the lockdown started were less fortunate. Many waited several hours for information or instructions on how to get their kids.

“Why did they make everybody come here?” said Darren Reid, a parent who was on his way to work when he got the call.

Reid, whose daughter attends Einstein Middle School, said he waited two hours to find out the district may be taking her home.

“It’s a complete mess,” he said.

King County Sheriff’s Sgt. D.B. Gates said after the immediate threat had passed, the district handled the situation appropriately given the circumstances.

“I know it’s very frustrating for parents when they’re not getting immediate information,” she said. “Nobody was hurt. That’s the main thing. If we have to go through situations like this, this is how we want it to end.”

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to
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