Mass. teacher accused of planting live ammo at school, then calling police

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. -- A Southbridge, Massachusetts teacher is accused of leaving ammunition in a school stairwell Thursday morning before calling police to report it.

Southbridge police said high school biology teacher Alfred Purcell III, 57, of Woodstock, Connecticut, reported to staff that he had just found one live round of 9 mm ammunition in the rear stairwell. The school was placed on lock down reported WCVB.

During the lockdown, police and Southbridge High School staff reviewed video footage and saw Purcell removing the live round of ammunition from his pocket, dropping it on the floor and quickly leaving the area, police said.

About 10 minutes later, the video shows Purcell standing over the ammunition and taking a picture of it with a cellphone, police said.

Police said Purcell then used a school-issued portable radio to request assistance in the stairwell from the school administration and school resource officer.

Purcell then returned to his class with his students during the lockdown, which lasted about an hour, police said.

"There was no kids that were injured, nobody was seriously impacted by this other than we went into a lockdown for an hour and we had to investigate a teacher who was doing things he shouldn't be doing," said Chief Shane Woodson of the Southbridge Police Department.

Purcell was arrested at the school. Police said he admitted to intentionally dropping the live round of ammunition in the stairwell to "prove to the school that they needed to get metal detectors."

Police said officers detected the faint odor of an alcoholic beverage on Purcell's breath, but he denied consuming any alcoholic beverages.

"This individual acted in a disgusting manner. I feel very badly for our students because it is an adult who failed them," said Jeffrey Villar, the superintendent.

A search of Purcell's vehicle yielded 102 live rounds of .20 gauge shot gun ammunition in the trunk, police said. It was later confirmed that Purcell's license to carry a firearm was expired in Connecticut, police said.

Purcell was charged with two counts of the unlawful possession of ammunition, two counts of carrying ammunition on school grounds, disturbing a school assembly, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

He's been ordered to stay away from the school.

Prior to Thursday's incident, the school said Purcell's contract would not be renewed.