Search for Possibly Armed Suspect Prompts School Lock-Out in New Hartford
New Hartford Police are releasing more information on an investigation and search that prompted school officials to implement a lock-out at two schools on Monday morning.
Note: The lockout at New Hartford High School and Bradley Elementary was lifted shortly before 11:00 a.m. (read more here).
It began in the overnight hours, at around 2:20 a.m. when a police officer was on patrol on Pearl Street in the village, police said. He observed a black Nissan sedan with Louisiana plates stopped in front of a home on Pearl Street, with the driver side door open. Police say when the officer approached, a man who was in the vehicle ran behind a nearby house, while another jumped from the passenger seat to the driver seat and took off, police said.
When the officer then pursued and tried to stop the vehicle, the driver wouldn't pull over and ultimately crashed into a tree at 58 Genesee Street, police said. The occupants then fled on foot. One was arrested by police, but not before officers say he threw something onto the roof of Berkshire Bank. A subsequent search determined that he threw a loaded .40 caliber handgun, according to police.
The individual arrested by police is 17-years-old, so cops say they won't be releasing his identity. However, he is facing a weapon's possession charge, police said.
Meanwhile, police were called to that same area shortly before 9:00 this morning as a resident noticed a man walking around in her backyard. Police say when the woman who lived there asked what he was doing, the person explained he was looking for a cellphone that had dropped the night before. The caller said she then witnessed the man reach under a fence and retrieve what appeared to be a handgun.
Police say that prompted a response and search of the area this morning, triggering the lock-out at the New Hartford Senior High School, Bradley Elementary School, as well as some surrounding pre-schools. Cops say there was no threat to the schools and it was done only as a precaution.
For the remainder of the day, officers will maintain a presence at the school. Again, officials say it is being done as a precautionary measure.