Fri, Mar 16 2012 04:15 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité
A Chula Vista charter school was placed on lock down today after an alleged mentally ill man entered the campus.
Chula Vista police officers responded to the incident at Mueller Charter school on I street in Chula Vista at approximately 11:49 a.m., according to executive director of technology for Chula Vista charter schools Matthew Tessier.
The man was identified as Chester Henry Thomas, 33, of Chula Vista, said police Lt. Scott Arsenault.
Thomas was reported to have been speaking nonsense at a nearby 7-11 store on Woodlawn Avenue, where he screamed at customers until the clerk asked him to leave. One eyewitness said Thomas then ran out into the street.
Shortly after, Thomas jumped a fence at the back of the school, entered a classroom filled with students and began screaming at the children about ice cream, Tessier said.
The teacher quickly escorted students out of the classroom.
Arsenault said a school resource officer saw students running from an area on campus and after getting closer realized that several adults were holding a male down on the ground. A folded pocketknife was nearby.
Arsenault said no threatening statements were made by Thomas.
Arsenault said that at one point Thomas had been calling out for his ex-wife.
“This could have ended very differently if we didn’t have a SRO,” Tessier said.
Thomas was placed on a 72-hour hold for a mental health evaluation at the county mental health hospital.
The incident ended close to 12:30 p.m. and students were released.
Chula Vista Elementary School District Spokesman Anthony Millican called the end result a good outcome.
“This is why our district funds school resource officers,” he said.
Mueller has approximately 1,100 students in grades K-8.
No students or teachers were injured during the incident.
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