Lockdown lifted at Damariscotta elementary school after distraught man located

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 03, 2012, at 11:45 a.m.

DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — A lockdown at the Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta was lifted Wednesday afternoon after a man who had voiced suicidal intentions was found by police in Hancock County.

The situation began to unfold at about 9:35 a.m. when the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department received information that caused concern about the safety of a 36-year-old Bristol man whose name has not been released.

The man was believed to be distraught about a pending child custody situation, according to a press release from the sheriff’s department. Based on the report, police believed at the time that the man was last seen driving from Bristol toward Damariscotta, where the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade Great Salt Bay Community School is located at 559 Main St.

Because of the man’s connection to the school — his children are students there, according to Jodi Prior, an administrative assistant at the Damariscotta Police Department — the school was put in lockdown as a precautionary measure. Lockdown status calls for heightened security at the school, including strict restrictions on who enters or leaves the building.

“At no time did deputies have any information that caused them to believe that children attending the Great Salt Bay School were in any danger,” reads a statement from Lincoln County Lt. Rand Maker. “The decision to lock down the school was advised in order to remove any disruption that could have been caused if this man had decided to go to the school.”

The man, who did not go to the school Wednesday, was located just after noon on Verona Island by deputies with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. Maker said he did not know why the man drove north to Hancock County. The deputies allowed the man to talk with his doctor and determined that there was no immediate threat to others or himself. He was released after being detained briefly on Route 1 on Verona Island, according to police.

Prior said the man had mentioned suicide to a family member because of the child custody issue. The family member, in turn, notified the school.

In addition to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by Bucksport Police, sheriff’s departments in Waldo and Knox counties, the Maine State Police, the Damariscotta Police Department, the Lincoln County Communications Center and U.S. Cellular.

No charges have been filed in connection with the situation and no further investigation is planned, according to Maker.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/10/03/news/midcoast/damariscotta-school-in-precautionary-lockdown-over-external-threat-police-say/ printed on April 16, 2014