Man arrested after threat puts St. Charles Schools on lockdown

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – Less than a week after the start of what has already been an unusual school year for the Francis Howell district, things were a little tense Tuesday morning as eight of its schools were put on lockdown.

The trouble began at about 9:30 A.M., when the ex-husband of a teacher at Francis Howell High School confronted the school`s resource officer in the parking lot, demanding to talk to his ex-wife and also his son, who attends the same school.

"He made some comments towards the school resource officer and towards his ex-wife that we felt were of a threatening nature and that he might harm someone or harm himself," said Lt. Dave Tiefenbrunn, public information officer for the St. Charles Sheriff`s Department.

After several minutes of a heated and threatening argument, the suspect got into his car and took off, and that is when the resource officer ordered the high school, the middle school, and six other nearby schools put on lockdown because it was unknown where the suspect was heading next.

The suspect is a 42-year-old man who lives in St. Charles and works as a Crestwood firefighter.

The St. Charles Sheriff's Department put out a bulletin to other nearby law enforcement to be on the lookout for the suspect`s car.

About an hour later, Chesterfield Police spotted his license plate, pulled him over, arrested him and towed his car.

Only then did the district notify parents about the lockdown through its Facebook and Twitter accounts, which was upsetting to some parents, like Stephanie Guitierrez, whose sophomore daughter alerted her to the situation by a text message as soon as it began.

"I would have expected a text or an email or something even on (the district`s) website but we didn`t get anything," Guitierrez said. "To not get notifications in this day and age, especially with information technology so rampant, we were worried."

A district spokesperson said the reason it delayed releasing the news was because it had conflicting information about the fast moving situation and did not want to panic parents.

But while parents may have been nervous until they got word the lockdown was over, ninth grader Riley Nelson said few students seemed upset as it was happening.

"It has not exactly become routine, but it happens once or twice a year," Nelson said. "We haven`t heard too many big stories about people actually breaking into schools."

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