South Burlington police arrested a man Friday morning on an outstanding assault warrant after the man allegedly made a threat against the mother of a student at South Burlington Orchard School, police say. The alleged threat led to a brief lockdown at the school Friday morning.
South Burlington Police Sgt. Dave MacDonough said a mother dropping off her child at South Burlington Orchard School told school staff about threats that were made against her in a “domestic incident” on Thursday night.
“What ended up happening was she [the mother] came to school and confided in the staff what had happened, and that a specific threat was made by the male half involved, regarding her, and him basically following up on that threat,” MacDonough said.
MacDonough said Thursday’s incident did not take place on school grounds.
“As a result of the threat that was made, the school decided to go on lockdown following a procedure. We responded to supply aid,” he said. “We spoke to the victim in this case, and as a result then went to look for the potential suspect, who had an active arrest warrant. So he was taken into custody on the active arrest warrant, and currently we are investigating the other incident that occurred last night.”
The man arrested was James Bridges, though MacDonough wasn’t immediately able to provide further details such as Bridges’ age or where he lives.
MacDonough confirmed that the outstanding arrest warrant was unrelated to Thursday’s “domestic incident,” and emphasized that police have not yet charged Bridges with any crime in relation to the threat Bridges allegedly made against the woman who reported it to school staff.
“Basically, we are just investigating it, so until we’ve completed our investigation we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and put out any kind of information that’s wrong,” he said.
The school lockdown ended and normal operations resumed shortly after police arrested Bridges at around 9:05 Friday morning, according to South Burlington Superintendent David Young.
Original Post 10:11 a.m. A person is in police custody after causing South Burlington Orchard School to follow “crisis protocols” Friday morning, according to South Burlington Superintendent David Young.
In a news release Friday morning, Young said the incident lasted less than an hour.
“At approximately 8:15 this morning, South Burlington Orchard School received information that a potentially dangerous individual could be in the area,” the statement said. “Police were notified, and the school immediately followed crisis protocols in securing the building. At approximately 9:05 a.m., the South Burlington Police apprehended the individual, and the individual was put in police custody.”
Young said the Orchard School has resumed normal operation.
The incident follows a string of threats and vandalism at South Burlington schools throughout the spring. In April, two lockdowns in the course of a week led officials to cancel a school day. Josiah Leach, an 18-year-old South Burlington student, was arrested and charged with federal crimes for his suspected involvement in those threats.
Earlier this week, as South Burlington voters were at the polls deciding the fate of the city’s school budget, officials at Burlington High School found “racist graffiti” on the school’s artificial turf athletic field. That led officials to close the field and request that South Burlington Police investigate the graffiti, including “the possibility of a hate crime having taken place.”
As of Friday morning, officials gave no indication that Friday’s arrest was related to the graffiti found Tuesday.