Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Man with gun prompts ‘Cold Blue’ at Gaithersburg schools

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Three Gaithersburg schools were on alert Tuesday while police searched for a man they believed was armed with a handgun.

Forest Oak Middle, Gaithersburg Middle and Gaithersburg Elementary schools were placed on Code Blue at 12:10 p.m., following a series of reports about a man armed with a handgun in the area, said Sgt. Rudy Wagner, a spokesman for Gaithersburg Police. The suspect had not located as of Tuesday afternoon.

The schools are located within an about two-mile radius of each other.

Code Blue status involves locking the school’s exterior doors and monitoring all visitors. Instruction and other activities progress regularly within the school.

The Code Blue and the police search ended at about 1:20 p.m., but police remained on the scene during school dismissals, Wagner said.

A witness told police at about 11:40 a.m. that he saw what appeared to be a carjacking, but police later learned the incident involved a man with a silver handgun who was threatening another man, Wagner said.

The men then fled in separate directions — the armed man toward Girard Street and the other toward North Summit, Wagner said. The victim later told police he believed it might be a B.B. gun, Wagner said.

At 11:44 a.m., a parent dropping her child off at Forest Oak Middle, located at 651 Saybrooke Oaks Boulevard, called police and said she saw a man with a handgun, Wagner said.

The physical description matched the suspect, and police then set up a perimeter where they searched the area with K-9 units and a helicopter, but were unable to find the suspect, Wagner said.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 25 years old, 5 feet 5 inches, 150 pounds and wearing a blue and white striped shirt, Wagner said.