Random Maryland shootings force school lockdowns

Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County school districts took precautionary measures Thursday, keeping students in a limited lockdown after a series of random shootings in Montgomery County, Md.

In all three jurisdictions, outdoor activities were cancelled as a precautionary measure after consulting with local police.

The time schools released students did not change and all after-school activities resumed as scheduled, according to Chip Zullinger, Manassas superintendent of schools.

As part of the limited lock down procedure, all of the school doors were locked and everyone entering needed to provide identification, said Manassas Officer Scott Stallard.

The lockdown took effect late in the morning to early afternoon following a shooting spree where gunmen shot three men and two women in apparently random separate incidents, over a period of 16 hours in Montgomery County, Md., a Washington, D.C. suburb.

Outdoor activities were also cancelled in all public schools in Washington, D.C. and in the Maryland suburbs of Prince Georges and Montgomery counties.

Police are still looking for a “white, box-type vehicle, possibly an Isuzu” with a damaged rear door, that was seen leaving the area of a post office where a man was killed.

Police officers in the District, Montgomery County and across the state were stopping white trucks and ordering the occupants out for questioning.

Under lockdown conditions, none of the students were allowed to leave the school, Stallard said.

In Prince William County, all school principals were asked to review lockdown procedures, said Robert Ferrebee, associate superintendent for school services.

All students in Manassas Park stayed indoors, in a procedure called “Code Yellow,” said Thomas DeBolt, Manassas Park superintendent.

Each school district checked on field trips scheduled for the day.

Manassas Park Middle school students were on a field trip at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., and had been planning to eat lunch on the mall.

After hearing news reports, the school contacted the bus drivers on the trip and the museum’s security to make sure the students remained indoors.

“I’m just glad they’re back safe with us,” said Elizabeth Purcell, Manassas Park Middle School principal.

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