Armed fugitive arrested in elementary school

Posted Oct. 31, 2008, at 9:54 a.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:16 a.m.

STOCKTON SPRINGS — An armed fugitive who sparked a manhunt that began Oct. 23 was arrested at the elementary school here Friday morning after holding 11 children hostage in a classroom, police said.

Randall Hofland, 55, of Stockton Springs was spotted inside the school by a teacher who notified authorities. Children were evacuated by bus to the Searsport Elementary school about 5 miles away. No one was injured.

Hofland was tackled outside a fifth grade classroom by a State Trooper, who was one of the first police officers to arrive at the school, according to Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland.

Hofland had been armed with a handgun and was holding 11 students hostage inside that classroom. He had released all of the students and had given the gun to one of them before he was taken into custody, McCausland said.

State Police received the first call about 8:42 a.m. and Hofland was placed under arrest at 9:08 and transported to Waldo County Jail in Belfast.

Last week Hofland allegedly pointed a gun at a Searsport police officer Thursday night during a seat belt enforcement roadblock on Route 1. He then drove through the roadblock to his home a short distance away. By the time his car was surrounded, Hofland had fled into the woods

On Friday, Oct. 24, a 2-mile section of Route 1 between Searsport and Stockton Springs was shut down along with a local school district, but the road was reopened by Friday afternoon, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

More than three dozen police officers, including the Maine State Police Tactical Team, have been searching for Hofland.

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