Chase for burglary suspect brings lockdown at schools

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A manhunt near White River High School caused a three-school lockdown Friday.

Police notification resulted in an all-school announcement in each of the three buildings, prompting teachers to lock their doors and pull their blinds, while school officials made sure all exterior doors were locked. In some classrooms, students tipped over tables and hid behind them, eventually crawling on the floor to chat with friends as the ordeal dragged on.

The incident began at about 11:15 a.m. when the Pierce County Sheriff's Department told the district police had chased suspects of a burglary that occurred in Wilkeson. The driver of the suspect vehicle appeared unfamiliar with the area and turned from Mundy Loss Road onto 120th Street, which dead-ends at the high school. Mountain Meadow Elementary is near the corner where the vehicle turned and the suspect vehicle passed White River Elementary School before the driver parked in the lot earmarked for White River High students.

Police reportedly made a quick arrest, but a second suspect escaped on foot. Because he was loose in the area, the lockdown was ordered. After the final suspect was apprehended, the lockdown was lifted. Students at the high school were released from their rooms about 1 p.m., slightly later than the elementary and middle school students. They were held a bit longer so police could remove the suspect vehicle from the student parking lot without interruption.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at

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