News LIVE: Hurricane school incident; police locate, detain possible suspect; updated 11 p.m.

NEWS LIVE: This report contains news live as it develops and is being  updated continuously. Bookmark and refresh the page periodically for updates.

Updates

  • 9:04 a.m. – Search for suspect section – Suspect description updated; suspect has not been found  – Hurricane Police Department 
  • 9:35 a.m. – School lock-out section – Activity at Hurricane High School described – St. George News on scene
  • 9:46 a.m. – School lock-out section – Advisory posted by school district – Washington County School District
  • 10:02 a.m. – Search for suspect section – Video surveillance – Hurricane Police Department
  • 10:15 a.m. – Search for suspect section – Photos of person of interest added, description updated – Hurricane Police Department
  • 10:50 a.m. – Search for suspect section – Police and principal deliver press conference (videocast to follow) – St. George News on scene
  • 11:11 a.m. – School lock-out section – Lock-out lifted – Hurricane Police Department
  • 12:30 p.m. – Search for suspect section – Search continues; suspect vehicle description – Hurricane Police Department
  • 1 p.m. – Press conference given by Hurricane Police Department and Hurricane High School around 10:40 a.m. –  Videocast added at top of story – click the play-arrow  center of the image to view  – St. George News on scene from Hurricane midmorning
  • 7:10 p.m. – Possible suspect section added  – Person of interest detained – Hurricane Police Department
  • 11:00 p.m. – Arrest made – see report: LaVerkin man arrested for attempted kidnapping outside Hurricane High School

HURRICANE — Six schools in Hurricane are on lock-out in response to an incident Wednesday morning in which a female high school student reported to Hurricane High School’s vice principal that a man in a white passenger car pulled a gun and tried to get her in his car. 

Law enforcement outside Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News
Law enforcement outside Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News

Around 7:57 a.m. the student told the vice principal that a man, estimated to be 30s-mid-40s (revised age as of 9:04 a.m.), driving a white four-door passenger car pulled a gun on her and tried to get her into his car, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said.

Possible suspect – section added 7:10 p.m.

At about 7:10 p.m., Hurricane Police Department announced that a person of interest has been located, detained and is being questioned in connection with Wednesday morning’s incident.

“We were able to interview several people and obtained information leading to this subject,” the department’s release said. “We were able to locate the subject and detained him without incident.”

The statement commended the diligent work done by officers and detectives.

“We are continuing to meticulously investigate this incident and interview this subject to determine what, if any, involvement he had in the case,” the department’s release said. “We want to make sure we investigate this case thoroughly, so our residents feel safe in our great community.”

School lock-out

Upon receiving the initial information, Hurricane police were immediately contacted and Hurricane schools went into lock-out mode. These include:

  • Hurricane High School
  • Hurricane Elementary School
  • Hurricane Middle School
  • Hurricane Intermediate School
  • Three Falls Elementary School
  • Valley Academy

Schools are in or will be in session. Lock-out means that students may come to school, but nobody else will be allowed into the schools, Buell said, and to his knowledge school buses are operating as normal.

“All the doors are locked with people posted at the doors,” he said. “No one can get in other than the students.”

At 9:25 a.m. students at Hurricane High School are being escorted from building to building if they have seminary or vocational classes in separate buildings. If students have classes off-campus, they are being told to stay on campus and study in the library. Every person being allowed into the school is being checked by administration before being allowed access.

9:46 a.m. Washington County School District has issued alerts on the lock-out, largely reiterating what has been reported here.  In addition, the district’s post states:

The school ‘Lockout’ is a precautionary measure. Schools will continue on regular schedules with these precautionary measures in place. No schools outside the Hurricane area are affected. The St. George Police Department is working closely with Hurricane Police Department in case any further action is needed.

10:50 a.m. Although the school district posted, “We have been notified by the police department that the current lockout will be lifted at 11:00am MST,” Buell and the principal of Hurricane High School said at a press conference around 10:40 a.m. that the schools will remain on lock-out until such time as they are sure it is safe to lift the restriction. No confirmed time of lifting the lock-out is set.

 

Hurricane High School Principal Jody Rich during lock-out, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News
Hurricane High School Principal Jody Rich during lock-out, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News

11:11 a.m. The school district in cooperation with the Police Department has lifted the lock-out at this time for all of the schools in Hurricane.

“We feel the area has been canvassed very well,” Buell said, “and the suspect is out of the area.”

Although the lock-out is lifted, police and the schoool officials are encouraging all students to use the buddy system when leaving campus.

“We’ve asked the students to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity,” Buell said.

Officers will continue to patrol all of the area schools throughout the day, he said.

1 p.m. See press conference with Hurricane High School Principal Jody Rich, and Buell at top of the story.

Search for suspect

Officers are out circulating the area checking every possible area, Buell said. The man in the vehicle was reported traveling an unknown direction on 300 West and approximately 50 South by Hurricane High School.

The suspect is described as being a Caucasian man in his 30s to mid-40s, approximately 5 feet, 6 inches, to 5 feet, 10 inches, tall, with a brown beard. He was described as wearing a black beanie, dark blue jeans and a plaid jacket, Buell said. This description was updated at 9:04 a.m.

Despite many calls coming in to authorities, the suspect has not been located, Buell said at 9:04 a.m.

The investigation is ongoing and a description of the alleged gun is yet to be determined.

At 10:02 a.m. Buell confirmed that police do have a photo to be released shortly.

“We do have some video surveillance of someone who we believe is a person of interest,” Buell said.

Nobody has been detained at this time and Buell deferred for the moment identifying where the surveillance was obtained from.

10:12 a.m. Hurricane Police Department released the following photos with the following statement:

This person matches the description given.

Updated description information:
Red shirt under the plaid jacket.
Brown work type boots.

Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell during lock-out, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News
Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell during lock-out, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, March 4, 2015 | Photo by Candice McMahon, St. George News

10:40 a.m. Buell and the Hurricane High School Principal Jody Rich delivered a press conference at which they said authorities have no information regarding the location of the suspect. Officers have checked local stores in the area and other locations that people have called in about, thinking they may have seen a man meeting the description of the suspect.

Multiple agencies including county, municipal and federal agencies, are currently engaged in a widespread canvas in search of the suspect.

The community is urged to be vigilant and strong during this time, Buell said, to assist authorities in locating the suspect.

At 12:30 p.m. Buell confirmed the suspect vehicle may be an older white Voltswagen Jetta. The investigation and search continues, he said, as investigators follow-up tips and leads.  People are again urged to share any information that could assist authorities.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to call the Hurricane Dispatch Center at telephone 435-627-4999 or call 911.

Person of interest released by Hurricane Police Department regarding an incident in which a man with a gun attempted to get a high school girl into his white passenger car near Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, march 4, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Hurricane Police Department, St. George News
Person of interest released by Hurricane Police Department regarding an incident in which a man with a gun attempted to get a high school girl into his white passenger car near Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, march 4, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Hurricane Police Department, St. George News
Person of interest released by Hurricane Police Department regarding an incident in which a man with a gun attempted to get a high school girl into his white passenger car near Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, march 4, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Hurricane Police Department, St. George News
Person of interest released by Hurricane Police Department regarding an incident in which a man with a gun attempted to get a high school girl into his white passenger car near Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Utah, march 4, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Hurricane Police Department, St. George News

This is a developing story.

St. George News Reporters Candice McMahon and Devan Chavez contributed to this report from Hurricane.

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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9 Comments

  • Anon March 4, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Don’t mean to make light of this situation, but how did she get away? Why did she not get in the car? What gave her the courage to run away from a man with a gun when he could have shot her? There are some inconsistencies that I think need to be addressed in this girl’s story. HOWEVER, I am very glad that the school is erring on the side of safety.

    • Nana25 March 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      I have found that we don’t know all the information for a reason. The case is still under investigation so I don’t understand why we should know all the story. Too many times we all mis-trust the story when in reality it is not prudent for us to know the story. Be patient. Be vigilant. The story will come out.

    • ignoramus March 4, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      Wow… you sound like a know it all. Must be amazing to be you.

  • fun bag March 4, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Better get this guy quick

  • anybody home March 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I kind of doubt this is a stranger-to-stranger encounter. Their history will come out and tell the rest of the story.

    • Winterhawk March 4, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Why do you say that? Do you know something that everyone else doesn’t?

    • ignoramus March 4, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      Guess nobody is home. You have no idea what youre talkin about.

    • fun bag March 5, 2015 at 2:28 am

      AH is probly right on

  • My Evil Twin March 4, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Good job to HPD, if this is the right guy!

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