Man faces misdemeanor charges after standoff in front of schools

Lebanon police officers surround a white Ford pickup outside Lebanon High School and Hanover Street School on Friday afternoon. The schools were placed on lockdown just after dismissal on Friday afternoon. (Valley News- James M. Patterson)

Lebanon police officers surround a white Ford pickup outside Lebanon High School and Hanover Street School on Friday afternoon. The schools were placed on lockdown just after dismissal on Friday afternoon. (Valley News- James M. Patterson)

 Hanover Cpl. Mike Alterisio turns cars around in front of Lebanon High School, and Hanover Street School, on Friday, March 15, 2024 in Lebanon, N.H. The schools were placed on lockdown after dismissal.

Hanover Cpl. Mike Alterisio turns cars around in front of Lebanon High School, and Hanover Street School, on Friday, March 15, 2024 in Lebanon, N.H. The schools were placed on lockdown after dismissal. James M. Patterson

Lebanon Lt. Rich Norris tapes off the scene in front of Lebanon High School, and Hanover Street School, on Friday, March 15, 2024 in Lebanon, N.H. The schools were placed on lockdown after dismissal. (Valley News- James M. Patterson)

Lebanon Lt. Rich Norris tapes off the scene in front of Lebanon High School, and Hanover Street School, on Friday, March 15, 2024 in Lebanon, N.H. The schools were placed on lockdown after dismissal. (Valley News- James M. Patterson) James M. Patterson

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins removes a long gun and a gun case from a truck after taking the driver into custody outside the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024.  took a military veteran suffering a mental health crisis into custody and removed a rifle from the vehicle he was driving in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police Chief Phillip Roberts said the man was believed to be having a mental health crisis and had four loaded guns in the truck. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins removes a long gun and a gun case from a truck after taking the driver into custody outside the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. took a military veteran suffering a mental health crisis into custody and removed a rifle from the vehicle he was driving in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police Chief Phillip Roberts said the man was believed to be having a mental health crisis and had four loaded guns in the truck. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news — James M. Patterson

Mikayla Thibodeau, of Lebanon, carries her daughter Alyanna, 6, to the car after waiting about 90 minutes as Hanover Street School was locked down as Lebanon, N.H., Police addressed a man having a mental health crisis nearby on Friday, March 15, 2024.

Mikayla Thibodeau, of Lebanon, carries her daughter Alyanna, 6, to the car after waiting about 90 minutes as Hanover Street School was locked down as Lebanon, N.H., Police addressed a man having a mental health crisis nearby on Friday, March 15, 2024. "Now I have her and that's all I need," said Thibodeau. Lebanon Police Lt. Adam Leland is at left and Lt. Mike Wright is at right. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins, right, talks with the driver of a vehicle who was stopped on his way to the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police were alerted by Vermont State Police after a concerned caller said that the man was threatening himself and might pick up his child at the school. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins, right, talks with the driver of a vehicle who was stopped on his way to the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police were alerted by Vermont State Police after a concerned caller said that the man was threatening himself and might pick up his child at the school. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By FRANCES MIZE

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 03-15-2024 3:08 PM

Modified: 03-16-2024 7:55 PM


LEBANON — A two-hour lockdown at Lebanon High School and Hanover Street School ended a little before 4:30 p.m. on Friday when police detained a man with four loaded weapons in his pickup truck parked in front of the schools.

The 39-year-old Vershire man was believed to have been having a mental health crisis, Lebanon Police Chief Phillip Roberts said.

The driver was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for evaluation. Later Friday, police said in a news release that the man had been charged with two misdemeanors — disorderly conduct and resisting arrest — and would appear in Lebanon District Court at a later date.

In a statement on Friday evening, Lebanon school Superintendent Amy Allen thanked emergency personnel for their response.

“I also want to thank the teachers, administration, and school staff for their cooperation and professionalism during the incident,” Allen said. “Finally, I thank the families for their patience and support. The safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.”

Late Friday morning, a woman who was concerned about her ex-partner and the father of her child, who attends Hanover Street School, alerted authorities, Roberts said in a news conference following the incident.

Roberts said the man was threatening himself, known to be in possession of firearms and believed to be headed toward Hanover Street School.

After the woman’s call, the Lebanon Police Department sent officers to the school, Roberts said. The man showed up at the campus around 2:15 p.m. in a white Ford pickup with red and black stripes.

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When the man was pulled over, police found four guns, all loaded and “in plain sight” in his car, Roberts said.

For about 90 minutes after that, he was “non-compliant,” Roberts said. While police on the scene were able to “contain him,” they weren’t able “to get him out of the truck.”

Over the course of the standoff, multiple police officers surrounding the car had weapons drawn. Around 4 p.m., an officer arrived in tactical gear, with an assault-style weapon and a ballistics shield.

The man in the pickup exited the vehicle around 4:30 p.m., and was taken to DHMC, Roberts said. After weapons were removed from the vehicle, a friend of the man who had been detained was allowed to drive it away from the scene.

The situation was “up and down,” Roberts added. “We negotiated with him the entire time.”

The schools were first placed on lockdown at about 2:30 p.m., just as the high school was being let out for the day, according to a notice from the LebAlert system, which said the Lebanon Police Department was “investigating an issue.”

It also urged members of the public to avoid the area. “You will be turned around if you attempt to access the area,” it said.

The call for the lockdown came after school had been dismissed for the day, Lebanon High Principal Ian Smith said in a 2:48 p.m. message to parents.

While many students had gone home, “there were several in the building and others waiting outside for the bus. Everyone was told to come into the building and our students and staff are secure and safe,” Smith wrote.

Several parents, who had arrived at the school intending to pick up their children, were stuck in limbo at the intersection of Evans Drive and Hanover Street, watching from behind yellow police tape as officers communicated with the man in the truck.

“It’s not raining,” said Valentina Baldwin. “This would all be a lot more grim if it was raining.”

She had walked from home to pick up her kindergartner and fourth-grader.

On the north side of campus, cars were backed up on Hanover Street heading toward Mount Support Road.

The lockdowns delayed buses at Lebanon Middle School and Mount Lebanon School.

Lebanon police and school administrators have been devising ways to evacuate students into buses at the back of the schools before the crisis began to de-escalate, Roberts said.

At about 4:30, the school district informed parents that police had told them “the suspect was in custody.”

They began the “the normal dismissal process” with buses to go first.

Those experiencing a mental health crisis can call or text the New Hampshire Rapid Response Access Point at 833-710-6477 or NH988.com. Those outside of New Hampshire can call or text the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

 Frances Mize is a Report for America corps member. She can be reached at fmize@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.