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Man with rifle seen near Lindsay schools
Futile search by officers, helicopter, K-9
LINDSAY — A man seen walking with a rifle near Kennedy Elementary and Lindsay High School was not found after numerous law enforcement agencies surrounding the school and adjacent groves searched unsuccessfully for him.
The call was received at 9:34 a.m., said Tulare County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Gary Hunt.
“Somebody saw a man walking in the area carrying what appeared to be a rifle towards the high school,” Hunt said.
Residents in the area near the corner of Hickory Street and North Foothill Avenue were contacted and several described seeing a man walking with a rifle.
“Lindsay P.D. initially got the call and the high school put themselves on lock down,” Hunt said. “We’re here checking the orchard.”
Assisting in the search was a California Highway Patrol helicopter, and numerous TCSD and Lindsay Public Safety officers.
A neighbor not wishing to be identified and living directly behind one of the schools said he was in the adjacent grove when he saw three Lindsay officers arrive at the scene.
He watched vehicle after vehicle of law enforcement arrive, he said, and began to worry, saying it must be more serious than he imagined.
Hunt said the search began approximately 10 minutes after the man was first seen.
Footprints were found in the grove behind the schools, and the officers were investigating. If a scent was present, the K-9 would find and follow it, Hunt said.
Nothing was found and by 11:46 a.m., the search was called off and the schools taken off lockdown.
At Kennedy Elementary, several young pupils waited in the office as clerical staff called their homes asking for a change of clothes. Because of the lockdown, the young children were not allowed to leave the classrooms to use restrooms.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.