Local News

School employee prompted lockdown at East Wake Middle

Posted November 2, 2018 10:26 a.m. EDT
Updated November 2, 2018 7:36 p.m. EDT

— The unidentified adult who prompted a Code Red lockdown at East Wake Middle School on Friday morning was actually a school employee, authorities said.

Authorities issued the red alert, which means no one is allowed on campus until an all-clear announcement is received from police, shortly before 9 a.m., said Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for the Wake County Public School System. The lockdown was lifted a few hours later.

No injuries were reported, but about two dozen officers from the Knightdale Police Department and the Wake County Sheriff's Office responded to the school to search for the man in question.

"Obviously, we are breathing a sigh of relief this afternoon," Knightdale Police Chief Lawrence Capps said. "The combination of some bad information, conflicting descriptions and our exhaustive search of the campus made for a time-consuming investigation. The most important outcome is that the students and staff of East Wake Middle are safe."

Knightdale police and school officials didn't release the identity of the school employee or the details of the conflicting information. Investigators said the man was unaware he had aroused students’ suspicions.

Several dozen parents and family members gathered at the school to try to take their children out while the lockdown was in place.

Many of the parents joined police, who had established a staging site at nearby Wil-Mar Golf Course while they investigated the incident.

"I feel relief because they’re my babies (and) they’re my world," said parent April Parker. "So, I’m very grateful, along with all the other parents, that everybody did what they were supposed to do."

During a Code Red alert, the staff’s only responsibility during a lockdown is student safety, Luten said.

"These steps are taken as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our students and faculty," Luten said in a written statement to parents. "Once the police gave us the all clear, the lockdown ended without any incident at the school."

By about 3 p.m., security personnel confirmed that all students were accounted for and had been reunited with their parents and families.

East Wake Middle will return to normal operations on Monday.