TCC Southeast campus now closed

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- The southeast campus of Tarrant County College was placed on lockdown Tuesday around lunchtime, and later closed for the remainder of the day, after concerns were raised that there might be an armed burlgar in the area, officials said.

The college placed the campus at 2100 Southeast Parkway on lockdown about noon as Grand Prairie police searched a wooded area behind the campus for a man suspected of burglarizing a home in the 6000 block of Waterford and stealing a handgun.

Police say a witness had called 911 after seeing a man getting out of a vehicle near one of his neighbor's homes, then walk toward the residence and through a back gate. Police arrived and set up a perimeter around the home but the suspect was not found.

A check of the home, however, did reveal it had been burglarized, Grand Prairie police say.

Police contacted the homeowner, who arrived and discovered that a small-caliber handgun was among the items that had been stolen.

"Being that the burglary was in the same general area as the Tarrant County Community College, the above information was related to them," Detective Lyle Gensler said in a news release. "It is our understanding that the college made the decision to put the campus in 'lock down.'"

Students at the campus had been alerted through text message to "get out if you can or stay in your room, turn out lights, close blinds, lock the door and hide."

Shortly after 1 p.m., the college tweeted that the campus would be immediately closed but that police would remain on site to ensure safety and the orderly flow of traffic.

Sheridan Glass, a 19-year-old Martin High School graduate reached by telephone on the campus, said she had been registering for her first year as a business marketing major when the alert was given. She and about 35 students and one school employee then locked themselves in a library conference room, she said.

"I was registering for a class in a hallway," she said. "Someone told us to get into the library. ... We're supposed to stay here until someone comes and gets us."

Nancy Kohlman, 60, had just gotten settled in her history class in the wing closest to Southwest Parkway when the lockdown was announced.

"We did everything we were supposed to do," she said by phone as she was driving away afterward. "We turned off the light and closed the door, but there was no way to lock it. So we put a chair in front of the door."

Most of the people, including the teacher, believed it was a drill, so none of them were afraid, Kohlman said.

"I never felt scared," she said.

Two students said that family members they were texting with told them to get out of the building, Kohlman said.

The teacher said, "I guess you should leave, and when you do, go out to the right to the closest exit," she said.

Kohlman went straight to her car, which was relatively close to her classroom, and drove away. On her way home, she heard on KRLD that the reason for the lockdown was that a burglar was in the area.

"This is crazy," she said. "If they had us on lockdown because of a suspicious person I would think the last thing they'd want us to do is go to our cars and leave.

"On the other hand, I hate my history class so I'm as glad as anything to be out an hour early."

Detective Mark Beseda, a spokesman with the Grand Prairie Police Department, said investigators suspect a second person had dropped the burglar off at the house. The vehicle that the second man was suspected of driving was later found by police in a nearby Home Depot parking lot. It has been towed and will be processed for evidence, Beseda said.

"This is a pretty routine call for us," Beseda said. "The only thing that made it stand out was the TCC deal. We're always chasing down burglars."

Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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TCC Southeast Campus, 2100 Southeast Pkwy., Arlington, TX
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