Police entered Duluth East High School Friday afternoon with “weapons drawn” and escorted a Duluth man out of the building.
The suspect, 35 years of age, was unarmed but remains in custody at the St. Louis County Jail after allegedly making threats of violence against Duluth schools, causing buildings to lock down district-wide Friday afternoon. He was identified by school officials as a person who is in the schools on a regular basis but who works for an outside organization.
The Duluth school district went into lockdown at 12:54 p.m. Friday after the district was notified by police of a potentially dangerous and suspicious person in the area.
The Duluth police identified the man in a press release on Friday night, but the News Tribune generally does not identify suspects until they have been formally charged.
The police requested all schools in the area - including private and parochial - be placed on lockdown, public information officer Ingrid Hornibrook said in a news release from Duluth police.
The lockdown ended roughly 20 minutes later, the district announced in an email to parents, which also said police came into East High School with “weapons drawn.”
“The Duluth police informed us after a 20-minute period of time that there was no longer a threat in the community. Our school buildings are no longer in a soft lockdown and we have resumed normal operations at this time,” the district said.
People were not allowed to leave or enter the buildings while the lockdown remained in place, but classes and lunch continued as scheduled, the district said.
Duluth school district spokesperson Katie Kaufman said in an email to the News Tribune that the lockdown lasted until the suspect was “apprehended.”
“The schools remained in lockdown until the police apprehended the individual and the situation was resolved,” Kaufman said.
Superintendent Bill Gronseth said it was 59 minutes from the time the anonymous call came into the police department about the threat to when the suspect was taken into custody.
“I’m so thankful for the Duluth Police Department and their really quick response and their help through this situation,” he said. “The students and staff handled the situation really well.”
Gronseth said recent ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training helped with the school district’s response.
Officials at Duluth Edison Charter Schools informed parents just after 2:30 p.m. Friday that, based on a request from Duluth police, they kept students in their schools from about 1-1:30 p.m.