ST. GEORGE — Three schools, including East Elementary, Dixie Middle School and Dixie High School, were placed on lock-out around 2 p.m., Thursday, after a man named “Martin” was reported walking in the area of East Elementary in possession of a large knife and threatening to hurt someone.
At 1:57 p.m. the St. George Communications Center received a call that the man, later identified as Martin Fernando Garcia, 24, of St. George, was walking in the area of East Elementary School. The caller reported that he had a large knife and was threatening to hurt someone. Beyond Garcia’s physical description, limited information was provided.
Officials contacted East Elementary and placed the school on lock-out. A lock-out is a security measure by which a building is locked and secured with students and staff inside. During a lock-out no one is allowed in or out of the school and activities within the school continue as regularly scheduled.
St. George Police officers arrived on scene and were unable to find the suspect. Dixie Middle School and Dixie High School were then notified of the incident and both schools were placed on lock-out as well while officers canvassed the area and attempted to contact both the man identified as “Martin” and the reporting party.
Officers then located Garcia near his residence. During initial contact with Garcia by the officers, a large hunting knife was found concealed underneath Garcia’s clothing and he was arrested for possession of a concealed weapon.
Area schools were notified and the lock-out was ended. East Elementary was on lock-out for approximately 20 minutes. The lock-out at Dixie Middle and Dixie High was brief, lasting only a few minutes.
At this time there is no information to suggest that Garcia entered school grounds, St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said. Information suggests Martin was in the vicinity of East Elementary School at the time of the report. Further investigation is needed to conclude what Garcia’s intentions were.
“We’re questioning him in regards to the school,” Despain said.
Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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