NEW INFORMATION: Suspicious person arrested following lockdowns at Tucson schools
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The Tucson Police Department is releasing more information about what led to the lockdowns at two schools Wednesday, November 8.
TPD says officers responded to Anna Henry Elementary School at about 10 a.m. following a report of a suspicious male on school grounds.
Police say the male subject made claims to school staff that he had an explosive device in a backpack and also assaulted three school employees while trying to enter a building.
That’s when police say staff placed the school on lockdown and relayed the information to the Public Safety Communications Department. The suspect remained outside on school grounds.
Due to the close proximity to Anna Henry Elementary, Sahuaro High School also went into lockdown protocol.
TPD says officers responded to the school, but also blocked surrounding streets, and evacuated homes near the southern campus of Anna Henry.
A crisis intervention team that included the Hostage Negations Unit and TPD SWAT established communication with the suspect.
TPD says the suspect surrendered after a few minutes and his backpack was isolated. Members from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team determined that the backpack did not contain any explosive material.
A secondary search of the school grounds was completed and the area was deemed safe.
The suspect was identified as 44-year-old Joshua Aaron Downing. He was booked into the Pima County Jail on the felony charges of Interfering with an Educational Institute and Making A Terrorist Threat; False Reporting of Terrorism.
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