This afternoon around 3:30 p.m. a report came into dispatch of an armed man in the vicinity of the Vineland Elementary School. Both Vineland Elementary and nearby LA Ainger Middle School were both put on lockdown immediately.
Within 12 minutes of learning of the incident Roy Wathen (04-27-1984 ) was located and detained for questioning. The schools were cleared and the students were released to their parents.
“I am very proud of the response of my deputies. As expected, they ran toward the danger and assured our children were safe, states Sheriff Bill Prummell. This was a perfect storm as students were being dismissed and parents were picking up their children. I understand the emotions parents are going through when learning your child is potentially in danger. We, along with the schools, have plans in place for such situations. My staff is well trained and equipped, so if situations like this occur, everyone needs to follow instructions, get out of their way and let them do their job.
As you can see, they do it and do it well,” he adds.
After thorough questioning the suspect was determined to have been hired to remove invasive iguanas from the nearby area and was carrying pellet guns. Deputies on scene educated him on the proper procedures to take prior to hunting, trespassed on homeowners request, then let go.
We are proud of the joint effort between CCSO, North Port Police, Englewood and Charlotte County Fire/EMS as well as the teachers within the school.
This is our community, our kids attend these schools, and we will never hesitate to protect them. There will be extra patrol and counselors at both LA Ainger and Vineland Elementary School tomorrow.
Always report suspicious activity to the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office by dialing 911 in an emergency or 941-639-0013.