All members of SAU 29 experienced their first extended lockdown after an alleged man with a gun was seen entering the woods near Keene High School, co-superintendent of schools, William Gurney said.
A 21-year-old white male was said to be “distraught and emotional and carrying a fire arm,” according to local Keene radio station, WKBK.
The station reported the 5’7” male subject left his home around 4 a.m. after a dispute with his wife.
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A press release from the Keene Police Dept. identified Adam Martz of 445 Park Ave., Keene, N.H. as the subject in this ongoing investigation.
The press release indicated Martz fled his Park Avenue Apartment when Keene Police arrived. Martz fled into the woods toward Monadnock View Cemetery.
The Associated Press reported the chase ended after Martz turned himself in. Martz was charged with simple assault and resisting arrest, the release stated.
By 9:30 a.m. the sounds of a helicopter rained down from above as all Keene High School students remained in lockdown.
In addition to Keene High School, Keene Middle School, Jonathan Daniels School and Symonds School also remained in lockdown.
Co-superintendent Gurney said there was little time to warn students. “We didn’t hear that there was an issue in communication until about 6 a.m. because things were happening quick,” Gurney said.
Because the incident started around 4 a.m. and communication was still light at this time, Gurney said it was too late for the busses to turn around. “It was after busses started picking up students.”
Gurney said the protocol called for custodians to lock all doors and for teachers to enter the buildings with their pass cards. As the busses arrived, Gurney said the students at Keene High School were told to enter the building and go straight to their advisory classrooms. “At the high school it took 13 minutes from the time the busses got there till we had all students in advisory,” Gurney said.
Due to there being fewer kids at the Keene Middle School, Gurney said school officials got middle school students in even quicker.
“Everybody did great under a situation where we didn’t really know a lot of what was going on,” Gurney said.
Principles and administrators in SAU 29 underwent prior training to have plans in place incase of emergencies.
Gurney said each school, every year does a set number of lockdown drills and fire drills to practice in the event of an emergency.
Gurney said he received a call from the Keene High School resource officer who said he had been informed that the gunman was in custody. “Right around 10 a.m. I told him to lift the lockout at the high school and then we lifted it at Daniels and at Symonds and at the middle school.”
Keene High School Principle Alan Chmiel said the faculty, staff and students at the high school responded to the lockdown efficiently. “They did a great job. We started as kids came in. Within 14 minutes there wasn’t a kid in the hall. Everyone did an outstanding job.“
An outdoor speaker sounded on Keene Middle School grounds around 10 a.m. with a Keene Middle School administrator stating the lockdown had ended. “We’re all ok, raise your shades the lockdown is now over.”
The Keene Police Dept. press release indicated that Martz would be arraigned in 8th Circuit Court in Keene at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The case still remains under investigation.
Jordan Cuddemi can be contacted at email@example.com