Woodinville High School locked down because of police chase

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, News Writer

Police were unable to find a burglary suspect who crashed his truck and escaped on foot, causing Woodinville High School to be locked down for more than an hour on Sept. 10.

Sgt. Cindi West, public information officer for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said the chase began when a deputy, who was parked near the 18700 block of 132nd Avenue NE investigating a suspiciously parked black truck, saw a man run to the truck, with a homeowner running after him yelling that the suspect has been in his house.

When the suspect fled in the truck, the deputy gave chase. The suspect crashed his truck into a chain-link fence at Del’s Truck Rentals, jumped over the fence and ran across Highway 522.

King County and Snohomish County Police tried to track him, with the help of the Guardian 1 police helicopter and a K9 patrol. Police also advised nearby Woodinville High School to go into lockdown.

Despite "exhaustive efforts," police weren’t able to find the suspect, West said, but they are still working on leads.

Leanna Albrecht, communications director for Northshore School District, said the lockdown began at 12:30 and ended by 1:45. School was still dismissed on time.

"It’s pretty standard that when we’re chasing someone in the area, we’ll notify the schools and they’ll lock down," West said.

Craig Phillips, the risk, safety and security supervisor for Northshore School District, explained what happens during lockdowns, which are used "anytime there’s an imminent threat."

In every classroom, teachers shut the curtains, lock the doors and turn the lights off, Phillips said. Students get down low and stay quiet.

Teachers and administrators communicate by computer or by phone.

There’s also a modified lockdown, in which teachers lock the doors and close the curtains, but continue teaching. That’s used for situations like a bear or cougar sighting, Phillips said.

The Sept. 10 lockdown began as a standard lockdown, but transitioned to a modified lockdown, Albrecht said.

"A lockdown will last as long as the imminent threat exists," Phillips said. If a lockdown lasts several hours, law enforcement might help transport kids to the bathroom or bring them food.

Phillips said the school district works closely with law enforcement to determine whether or not schools need to be locked down. For the police search last week, the school district decided to lock down Woodinville High School, which was closest to the police activity. The school district put its own security staff outside of Woodin Elementary and Kokanee Elementary, even though those schools were outside of the police perimeter.

After the search for the suspect ended, police also met the homeowner and confirmed the suspect had burglarized his home, West said.

The homeowner said he returned home and saw the suspect walking down the stairs.

After the homeowner yelled to the suspect to ask what he was doing, the suspect fled out the front door. The jewelry that the suspect took was recovered in the truck when he crashed it, West said.

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