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South Hill schools on lockdown as police search for armed man (UPDATED)

SoVaNow.com / November 07, 2019
UPDATE 8:25 p.m.: Police in the South Hill area continue to search for a man who is armed with a high-powered rifle, prompting emergency lockdowns Thursday at Park View High School, Park View Middle School and South Hill Elementary. With the aid and protection of police, students were able to return home this afternoon but it is uncertain whether the schools will open on Friday.

Mecklenburg County Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols provided an update on the situation shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday on the school division's social media page. "We have full confidence that our local police force will apprehend [the subject] tonight but we cannot reopen these schools until we are sure the danger to our students has been eliminated," Nichols wrote.

"We will notify our school community as soon as possible, and no later than 6 a.m. [Friday], if we will need to delay or close these three schools tomorrow."

The suspect, previously described as a potential suicidal individual armed with a high-powered rifle, was believed earlier in the day to be in the woods behind a dumpster site on U.S. 58, across the highway from Park View High School and in close proximity to the middle school and elementary school.

This story will be updated.

***

Park View High School, Park View Middle School and South Hill Elementary School went on lockdown Thursday around 1:30 p.m. as police investigated reports that a potentially suicidal individual with a high-powered rifle was in the woods behind the trash disposal site on U.S. 58 across from Park View High School.

Local police as well as deputies with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police are on site and searching the woods and surrounding areas.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Nichols posted word of the lockdown on his blog at mcpsweb.org and on the school division’s social media page.

Nichols said South Hill Elementary School is under a “code blue,” meaning parents can pick up their child from school. Both the high school and middle school are on full lockdown and parents will not be allowed to retrieve their students. Their dismissal will be based on the clearing of the area by the Sheriff’s Office.

At this time, all other schools in the county are not impacted by this event and will be released at their regular dismissal time.

The football game with Windsor scheduled for tonight has been postponed, most likely until Friday.

Nichols said the school division will update with information on their Facebook page and their school division webpage as it is available.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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