3 agencies respond to incident at Purdy schools

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lockdown triggered as precaution during incident

Threats from an allegedly suicidal man engaged three law enforcement agencies and resulted in a school lockdown in Purdy and the subject being taken on Tuesday.

According to Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, the Barry County Sheriff's Department received a report of a distraught Purdy resident, upset about a recent divorce, who threatened to go to the Purdy school, get his son and do bodily harm to the children.

Monett dispatch provided a courtesy call to the Purdy school district. Superintendent Steven Chancellor ordered a lockdown scenario.

"We never really have a chance to practice a lockdown," Chancellor said. "We locked the doors, and when someone came to the doors, we went to them. We still changed classes as usual. We had an assembly for the elementary students. The only thing we really did differently was have the ag kids take a new path to the ag building, since they go outside.

"[Purdy Police Chief] Jackie [Lowe] was in the buildings. Russ [Nichols, the city's second police officer] was on call. We had two Barry County officers circle the grounds. We didn't think anything was wrong. We were never aware of any threat. We need the practice."

Monett police stopped a vehicle that matched the description of one driven by the subject, but it turned out to not be him. Epperly said deputies located the subject at the residence where he was living off Sixth Street in Purdy.

"The officer went there and found a male subject out back who was suicidal," Epperly said. "The subject said he was going to hang himself. The officer said, 'We're not going to let you do that.' Then the man said, 'Then you'll have to shoot me.' He was transported to a hospital to get a mental evaluation. We got the mother to the kids and the school went out of lockdown. It just goes to show you persons can get upset and these things can happen.

"The Purdy police were quick on the spot. I appreciate the fine work they did to prevent anything from taking place."

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