[UPDATE, 5:50 p.m.]
Although the man who attempted to enter Hommocks Middle School has not yet been identified, the Mamaroneck School District is continuing to work closely with the Town of Mamaroneck Police Department as they investigate, said Debbie Manetta, the district spokesperson. There will also be an increased police presence at all schools.
Following the Newtown, CT tragedy, she said the school has, "taken a series of immediate steps to improve safety and make sure that it is followed consistently across schools."
These steps have included restricting access to one entrance in most Mamaroneck schools; performing lockdown drills and changing the procedure by which visitors can enter the schools.
Manetta praised the campus supervisor for "acting bravely in questioning the individual," and asking him to leave the campus.
Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norm Rosenblum issued a statement today indicating that patrols would be increased at all schools within the Mamaroneck District and would include afterschool events.
"In response to the Sandy Hook school shooting the village has met several times with members of both the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck School districts over the last couple of weeks. We have reiterated emergency procedures already established and pledged to improve communication and training," he said in the statement.
"Within a short time after the incident the schools were put into a 'soft' lock down and we were stationed at every school, a testament to the great working relationship we have with our school districts."
Shortly after the Newtown, CT tragedy, Rosenblum said that representatives from both the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck School Districts along with Village of Mamaroneck Police Chief Chris Leahy, Village Fire Chief Chris Szymanowski and EMS Chief Kelly Shannon met to review and coordinate the Districts' emergency and safety procedures.
"The communication between all parties and existing security policies are the first defense for our children's protection," he said.
[UPDATE, 5 p.m.]
Mamaroneck schools were dismissed at the regular time but all afternoon and evening activities were canceled after an odd incident with an armed man at Hommocks Middle School.
School district officials notified parents that the district had gone into "lockout" mode—a security level lower than "lockdown"— after a man who was carrying a gun was turned away from the middle school. The man said he was trying to retrieve some belongings from the pool area and left when asked.
School officials told parents there would be a police presence as schools open Jan. 4.
Police are looking for a man described as between the age of 50-55, 5'8", with fair skin and an Irish accent.
[UPDATE, 2:15 p.m.]
The Mamaroneck School District has released a notification to parents about the armed man who attempted to enter Hommocks Middle School:
This is to inform you that all of our schools have gone into lock-out mode within the past hour.
Just a while ago, a suspicious male attempted to enter the locked side door of the Hommocks Pool entrance. When asked to provide his ID, the campus supervisor noticed that he appeared to be holding a gun underneath his coat and asked the individual if he was carrying a weapon.
The individual responded that he works in the security field and acknowledged that he was armed with a gun. When told he could not remain on school grounds, he immediately left the building. Police were called and responded immediately. At this point, there is a police presence at all of our schools. We ask that you do not come to pick up your child until the end of the school day. As a precautionary measure, while the police investigate, we are cancelling all afternoon and evening activities at all of our schools. We expect to have a police presence at the start of the day tomorrow.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on the situation. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Rye Neck School District released this note:
The Rye Neck UFSD, has been informed that our neighbor, the Mamaroneck UFSD, had a suspicious person attempt to gain access to one of their buildings. The person was not let in the building.
As a result and a precaution, the Mamaroneck Police Department has increased patrols around ALL the Rye Neck Schools.
Please be advised that we have no reason to believe that there is any threat to Rye Neck Schools.
Schools in the Mamaroneck District went on lockdown procedure today after an armed man—who identified himself as a security guard at Hommocks Middle School—attempted to enter the school around noon today to retrieve an item of clothing he left there over the weekend.
The man was described as between the age of 50-55, 5'8", with fair skin and an Irish accent. He was wearing a black North Face jacket with a white, v-neck t-shirt underneath, said Lt. Robert Koziak, a spokesperson for the Town of Mamaroneck Police Department.
Koziak said the man made no threats and was pleasant in his interactions with school personnel. When asked if he was armed, he replied, "Yes." He was denied access to the school.
No incident was reported and Koziak said the matter was under investigation.
In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, many schools are taking additional security measures. The Mamaroneck School District recently announced that all schools will now only have one point of entry and a police presence during drop-off time in the morning.
The District has not yet responded to a request for comment at this time.
Det. Sandra DiRuzza, a spokesperson for the Village of Mamaroneck Police Department, said all schools in the Mamaroneck and Rye Neck Districts were on lockdown.
Stay tuned to Patch for updates