Search for wanted man prompted secure school mode in Southington - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Search for wanted man prompted secure school mode in Southington

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Police searched the Farmington Canal Trail for John Sample. (WFSB) Police searched the Farmington Canal Trail for John Sample. (WFSB)

Police have not located the man that caused five schools in Southington to be placed into "secure-school" mode on Wednesday morning.

The secure-schools mode, which means that no when can enter or leave the schools, was released at the schools around 12:15 p.m.  

The protocol was in place for Plantsville Elementary, Derynoski Elementary, Alta, and Kennedy Middle Schools since 10:30 a.m.  The Southington Catholic School also went into the mode, according to catholic school officials.

"As soon as you hear information like that, your thoughts go back to all the shootings at schools that have happened and your heart kinda clutches because your child is in a school and what would you do if that were them," Beth Rady of Southington.

School officials said the reason for the "secure-school" mode was a bail enforcement agent was serving a warrant to John Sample, who lives on Burritt Street. However, police said Sample ran from the bail enforcement agent.

Police said Sample had an active failure to appear in Meriden and two active warrants in Southington for narcotics violations.

The agent saw a Southington police officer doing a traffic detail and informed him about what happened.

Southington officers with the help of a K-9 from the Cheshire police Department began a search around 9:45 a.m.  

That’s when the administration put five schools as well as the YMCA in the secure mode out of an abundance of caution. Classes continued as scheduled during and after the "secure-school" mode.

Police searched the Farmington Canal Trail for Sample, but continued to let people walk on the trail. Police said Sample is not a violent criminal, which is why they left the Farmington Canal Trail open.

"I saw the cops patrolling and I figured there was something going on," said Michelle Leach of Southington.

After a more than two hour search, they decided to lift the search despite not finding Sample. As of 12:30 p.m., the search was suspended for the man.

Police increased patrols in the area of Burritt Street for the rest of the day. At the dismissal of the five schools, there was increased police presence as a precaution.

Parents were informed through an email from the superintendent.

School officials expected to release more information as it becomes available

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