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Wednesday suicide threat put school in precautionary shutdown

By JUSTIN BURNETT
Whidbey News-Times South Whidbey Record Editor
April 18, 2013 · Updated 3:49 PM
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Coupeville Elementary School was under emergency lockdown Wednesday after a police received reports of a suicidal woman with a gun at an adjacent housing complex. The situation was resolved quickly with no injuries. / Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

Reports of a suicidal woman with a gun at an adjacent housing development put Coupeville Elementary School in emergency lockdown for about 45 minutes Wednesday.

According to Coupeville Marshal Lance Davenport, a 911 caller alerted police in the early afternoon that a woman at the Big Rock Apartment Complex next door to the school was suicidal and armed.

"We chose to put the school under lockdown as a precautionary measure," Davenport said. "There was never really any danger."

Davenport, a deputy marshal and deputy with the Island County Sheriff's Office were able to stabilize the subject. The report was credible and a handgun was seized by police, but the woman did not require hospitalization or involuntary commitment.

She was allowed to remain at home, Davenport said.

School Principal David Ebersole reported that both students and teachers handled the situation well. They practice for such an event; they knew what to do and followed procedures efficiently, he said.

"For a live drill, things went well," Ebersole said.

Students were in recess when the police alerted school authorities to the situation. Kids were shepherded into their classes and all the building doors were then locked up tight, Ebersole said.

"From there, you wait until the all clear," Ebersole said.

There were lots of questions by students and some information was provided. They were told the lockdown was not a practice but that the situation was not taking place on campus, Ebersole said.

Parents were also notified at the end of the day by email and a recorded phone message that explained an incident had occurred.

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