Orange County

Chapel Hill police say person carrying likely BB gun caused school lockdown

A lockdown Tuesday morning at Phillips Middle and Estes Hills Elementary schools in Chapel Hill was caused by a person seen carrying what likely was a BB gun, according to police.

Chapel Hill police were called to the schools at about 10 a.m. when they received a report of a person with a firearm in the wooded area behind the schools. The schools went on lockdown and officers did a thorough sweep of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Police found no threat to the community near the schools along Estes Drive. The lockdown at the schools was lifted around 11 a.m.

Officers think the suspect may have been carrying a BB gun.

“We’d like to remind our community that the Town of Chapel Hill has an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of any firearms within Town limits,” Police Chief Chris Blue said. “Sometimes, what seems like an innocent activity can have profound impacts on your neighbors, as was the case today. Community safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Officers remained on scene after the lockdown and continued to monitor the area.

A school lockdown is a precautionary measure issued in response to a direct or nearby threat. It requires staff and students to respond quickly and comply with rules. Here’s how it often works.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews