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UPDATED: Man worried about active shooter may have brought gun to middle school

(Updated on 6/13/22) A robbery at a convenience store may have led to a panic about an active shooter at a nearby Arlington middle school.

It started at the 7-Eleven at 201 S. Glebe Road. Police were dispatched there shortly before 12:30 p.m. for a report of a man with a weapon robbing the store. They were initially told that someone was injured inside.

“At approximately 12:21, police were dispatched to the report of an assault with injury inside a business in the 200 block of S. Glebe Road,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Preliminary investigation indicates the suspect entered the business, produced a hammer, smashed a display case, stole merchandise and attempted to assault an employee. The suspect resisted arrest but was successful taken into custody by officers. Charges are pending.”

In the end, no one was found to be injured. The suspect was initially held at gunpoint by arriving officers, then arrested, according to scanner traffic.

As officers were rushing to the scene, ACPD asked that nearby Thomas Jefferson Middle School be placed on “secure the school mode” — in other words, locked from the outside. Given the recent mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school, the somewhat routine security precaution may have panicked some students and parents.

Around 1 p.m. police were dispatched to the school for a report of a man armed with a gun who was trying to get inside, apparently in an effort to stop a potential active shooter. By the time officers arrived, the man had left the school campus, but a glass door at the entrance was damaged.

(On June 13, a local man was charged with Destruction of Public Property after allegedly trying to break into the school, concerned that an act of violence was underway inside.)

Damaged door at TJ Middle School entrance (photo courtesy anonymous)

Savage said the initial indication is that “the report of an individual with the gun was someone picking up a student at the school.” No other details were immediately available.

“Police remain on scene investigating the circumstances of what occurred,” Savage said. She noted that there was “no threat to TJ Middle related to [the robbery].”

But parents, students and teachers were allegedly left in the dark as to why the school was secured.

“My daughter texted us and said they hadn’t been told why they were in lockdown,” a parent told ARLnow. “We did not hear from the school. Apparently teachers weren’t told why either.”

“There were a lot of scared students,” the parent added.

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