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Incident Prompts School Lockdown
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Two Escalon schools went on lockdown Monday, with the report of a knife-wielding man on the campus of Escalon High School.

Police Chief Jim Shaw said the decision was made fairly quickly to lock down Escalon High and nearby Dent Elementary after police received a report from a teen student that a subject on campus had brandished a knife toward her.

"In conjunction with school officials after assessing the situation, we determined a lockdown would be in order," said Shaw. "We searched the premises, searched the surrounding area."

Authorities did not find anyone fitting the description of the suspect given by the teen. She described the suspect as a white male, five feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 200 pounds with a goatee and salt and pepper hair. He was wearing a baseball cap and a black long sleeved shirt.

Police received the call of the brandishing of the weapon at 2:52 p.m., dispatchers said, so it was close to the end of the school day. Students and staff that were on campus at the time went into lockdown, said Shaw, while a perimeter search was conducted.

"We had our School Resources Officer on scene so the response was immediate," Shaw added of Officer Matt Price being on campus at the time.

Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa said the lockdown was short, but necessary to insure student safety.

"Police came in and scoured the campus, checked all the buildings, checked everywhere on campus," Costa said. "The site administrators did a great job working with the police, they assisted in making sure they checked every part of the campuses."

While no one else saw the suspect, Costa said they felt it in the best interests of all students to err on the side of caution.

"There was never a student that was in an unsafe position," he said. "Nobody else saw him (suspect) but we took it seriously for the sake of the students."

Officers converged in the area surrounding the Yosemite Avenue campuses of both EHS and Dent, but were unable to locate anyone in the area matching the victim's description. The lockdown lasted less than half an hour total, with students and staff released from the lockdown by 3:15 p.m.

Shaw said if anyone did see someone in the area around that time they can contact the police department to provide any additional information, 691-7300.

"School officials were right on top of it," Shaw said of cooperating in the lockdown. "They handled it in a professional and responsive manner."

The district utilized its 'all call' system to alert parents in the district about the situation. Shaw said the area was cleared in about half an hour, though police remained on scene keeping watch for the suspect for a few hours even after the lockdown formally concluded.