The reportedly armed suspect
sighted by students at Hope High School Tuesday still has not been found,
according to Hope Assistant Chief of Police Kimberly Tomlin.
"We would still like to talk to him," Tomlin said, though as a 'person of interest,' not an actual suspect.
It began around 10:30 Tuesday morning, when the HHS Resource Officer was notified that a black male who appeared to have a gun tucked in the waistband of his jeans had tried to gain entrance into the Tech Building on the HHS campus.
The SRO notified Hope police, and emergency plans immediately swung into place. Every school in the district immediately went on lockdown, she said, and Hope police were joined by Hempstead County Sheriff deputies, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Highway Police, in sweeping and securing the high school.
Reports the suspect might have gone to the Hope campus of University of Arkansas Community College, prompted campus police to lockdown the school. The administration cancelled classes for the day.
Hope Schools remained open, though some parents elected to pick up their children when given the go-ahead by law-enforcement. Classes were dismissed at the regular time, and buses ran on schedule, Tomlin said.
Tomlin said the response to what could have been a dangerous, volatile situation went very well. "I'm proud of everyone involved," she said. In addition to the quick response by law enforcement, she said, "Everyone - students, teachers, moms and dads - came together."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Hope Police at (870) 777-3434.