School locked down as shell casings found

Lincoln-Sudbury search yields no gun, suspect

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / May 17, 2011

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Lincoln-Sudbury High School was placed in “safe mode’’ and dismissal was briefly delayed yesterday after a teacher found two spent shell casings on the floor.

No one was hurt, and no arrests were made, officials said, but the .22-caliber ammunition casings caused a scare and triggered a police investigation.

“While it is likely that these casings were brought into school by someone and dropped on the floor, we want to make sure that there was no firearm brought into the building,’’ Superintendent Scott Carpenter wrote in an e-mail to parents. “We want to diligently ensure the safety of everyone in the building before releasing the students at the end of the school day.’’

Students, who are normally dismissed around 3:20 p.m., were allowed to leave by 3:35, said Lawrence W. O’Brien, chairman of the Sudbury Board of Selectmen. O’Brien, who has a daughter in the school, said there was no reason to be afraid.

“They have to treat every situation appropriately and take the necessary steps to ensure that the school remains a safe environment,’’ O’Brien said. “I think, as a parent, that the school is safe, and I don’t have any concerns for my daughter’s safety or the other students, but they have to take the necessary steps.’’

The casings were found at about 1 p.m. The school was placed in safe mode, police said, meaning students had to stay in their classrooms. During a sweep of the school for firearms, in which students’ backpacks were searched, classes went on as scheduled. Students with free periods were asked to go to the library or cafeteria.

Students were not allowed to go to their lockers as they were being dismissed. Once students were gone, officials searched every locker. No gun was found, said Lieutenant Scott Nix, a spokesman for the Sudbury Police Department. Officers from Lincoln assisted as well, said Lincoln police Lieutenant Kevin Kennedy.

“The investigation continues as to how the casings were conveyed to the classroom,’’ Nix said.

A .22-caliber weapon is often used in hunting, which is allowed in parts of both Lincoln and Sudbury, and in recreational target practice. It is contemporarily more popular in rifles than handguns.

Carpenter urged parents to talk about the situation with their children and reminded the community that weapons were not allowed on school grounds.

“Be it a small knife on a keychain or today’s shell casings, we take these things seriously. We have to,’’ Carpenter said.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at