Toms River students told to shelter in place due to ‘distraught’ parent, cops say
TOMS RIVER — Students at a Toms River school were told to shelter in place after police were notified about a "distraught and potentially suicidal" male who lives in the area and has a child in the school.
According to police spokesman Ralph Stocco, police spoke to the man on his cell phone just after noon, but they were unable to confirm his location. Police say the man resides in the area of Indian Hill Road and Hooper Avenue, and he has a child attending the school, which is on the same campus as Hooper Avenue Elementary School.
Stocco said police made the decision to have students shelter in place because the man lived so close to the elementary school.
"Being that his residence is in very close proximity to the school the officers initiated safety protocols until they could confirm he was not near the school," Stocco said. "The school was notified and cooperated in ensuring the safety of all students by activating a shelter in place. This was enacted out of an abundance of caution and the officers had no reason to believe that any students were in danger."
Stocco said that as police responded to the scene, many of them may have had their service weapons exposed until they were assured that there was no danger and everything was under control.
Police were able to track down the man at his home by about 2 p.m., at which time he was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Police did not reveal any additional details about the disturbed male or his phone call.
"Our priorities are always to take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure the safety to ourselves as well as the community," Stocco said. "We always want to be prepared for the worst and later reduce the level of reaction as more information becomes available."
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
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