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Skirmish outside Grant Elementary prompts school lockdown

Thursday, January 26, 2012 | 7:26 p.m. CST; updated 9:11 a.m. CST, Friday, January 27, 2012
A Columbia police car sits outside the playground at Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School on Thursday in Columbia. It was reported that someone at Grant Elementary called the police after seeing an individual being chased from the library.

COLUMBIA — An outdoor confrontation between two people spilled onto Grant Elementary School property Thursday afternoon, prompting a lockdown at the school, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said.

Initial information from the police suggested the incident began about 2:45 p.m. Thursday at the Columbia Public Library, located across the street from Grant Elementary. One person chased the other onto school property and yelled for someone to call 911, Stroer said.

Grant Elementary Principal Kris Matthews sent a letter home to parents stating a man ran onto the school grounds yelling, "Call 911."

"It was quickly determined that the children were not at risk, and I directed teachers to conduct a modified lockdown, which means they kept their doors locked and continued teaching," Matthews said in her letter.

Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said in an email the two people involved in the incident outside had no contact with students or staff and "left immediately."

Police were still looking for those involved at 5 p.m. There were no weapons involved, Stroer said.

Three classes were outside at the time of the incident and heard the yelling, the letter to parents said.

The school was put on lockdown around 3 p.m., and it was lifted by 4 p.m., Baumstark said in her email.

"Dismissal was conducted as normal," Baumstark said.

The school asked a police officer to be present at dismissal as a precaution. 

"Our teachers and staff did an amazing job by reacting quickly to keep our children safe," Matthews said in her letter.


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