By Pat Ciarrocchi
LOWER POTTSGROVE, Pa. (CBS) – Police say an active duty national guardsman was found dead after barricading himself inside a home for over five hours in Montgomery County Wednesday.
The incident began just before noon at a two-story home in the 1300 block of Lynn Drive in Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania.
According to authorities, police were called to the home for a “well-being” check, but as officers responded a single shot was fired from inside the house. Police say it is unclear if the shot was aimed at the responding officers.
Officials say the man, identified only as an active duty national guardsman between 35 and 40-years-old who is believed to be AWOL, then barricaded himself inside the home.
Police say extreme caution was used although there was no response from inside the house.
“We’re taking every precaution assuming that he is still possibly alive and active with a handgun or a rifle,” says Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz.
At about 5 p.m., officials say a diversionary device was set off on the outside of the house to elicit some kind of response, then a robot was sent into the home with law enforcement officials following behind. Police say the guardsman was found dead from a self-inflicted gun wound shortly after entrance.
Residents near the home were evacuated and all other residents were asked to stay indoors during the situation. Schools were also put on lock-down and evacuated.
The Pottsgrove School District website reported the following updates:
At approximately noon today, the Pottsgrove administration was notified of police activity in Lower Pottsgrove Township adjacent to the District’s main campus. Ringing Rocks Elementary, Pottsgrove High School, Lower Pottsgrove Elementary and District Office went into lock-down. Under police direction, we subsequently evacuated students participating in various summer programs from Ringing Rocks Elementary and High Schools, transporting them to the Middle School. Students were released to parents from the Middle School. Later in the afternoon, at approximately 2:45 PM, students at Lower Pottsgrove Elementary were released to parents or transported home by the District.
To be clear, the events that precipitated the lock-down and evacuation were focused on a home near the Kauffman Road campus and not on the school campus or in any of our schools. District personnel worked closely with locallaw enforcement to ensure student safety at all times and an orderly process for evacuating students and non-essential District personnel from the vicinity of the activity.
As of this writing, there is still police activity near the campus. Later this evening, we will post a notice on our website www.pgsd.org and Facebook www.facebook.com/PottsgroveSchoolDistrict that it is safe to return to campus tomorrow for the various scheduled summer activities.
As always, the safety of our students is a top priority. We will review the events of the day, as we endeavor to find ways to fine-tune our emergency protocols. We encourage parents to be sure we have your most current contact information and to find us on Facebook and on our website.
No other injuries have been reported.