Barricade situation prompts school lockdowns

March 13, 2012 2:24:43 PM PDT
Four northwest suburban schools were put on lockdown after shots were fired at a home in Bensenville.

The alleged gunman - a 36-year-old man - barricaded himself inside a home on the 200 block of South Mason.

The standoff lasted about four hours. Students were kept in their classrooms until the suspect was arrested. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital for evaluation. Charges against him are still pending.

"We introduced tear gas through one window through the bedroom, and he then left the bedroom and he was taken into custody unharmed," said Chief Frank Kosman, Bensenville Police Department. "There was a handgun found in the bedroom."

The schools went on lockdown shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Two of the schools -- Tioga Elementary School and Chippewa -- are located next door to each other at 212 West Memorial Road.

The two other schools -- Johnson School and Blackhawk Middle School -- are located about a mile from the house where the suspect had barricaded himself.

The lockdown, considered a precautionary measure, triggered automatic calls to parents around 12:30 p.m. alerting them of the situation. They were not relieved, however, until the offender was taken away.

"I feel better now that I know it had nothing to do with the school," said parent Laura Cathey.

No one was hurt in the incident.