• Last modified 1654 days ago (Jan. 7, 2015)


1 arrested in grade school 'lockdown'

Staff writers

Marion Elementary School entered into a precautionary lockdown Monday after a man allegedly threatened a courthouse employee that has children attending the school.

“Some threats were made to an individual who happened to have kids in Marion schools, so for that reason the school was notified,” Sheriff Robert Craft said. “The threat wasn’t at the school, but as part of the whole situation, they were notified.”

USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker said the lockdown was ordered around noon and lasted until about 2 p.m. It was a proactive measure taken by the school based on the notification it received, Leiker said.

He emphasized that no immediate danger was posed to students or staff.

Police Chief Tyler Mermis was at the school when it was notified of the threat, Craft said. Mermis coordinated the lockdown while the man was at large.

Meanwhile, a Marion police officer noticed the man in the courthouse parking lot and requested backup. Officers arrested him on charges of making a criminal threat.

“This all happened in an extremely short time frame,” Craft said. “I think the charges will stem from Marion Police Department, since they were aware of it before we were, and they were on top of it. In a matter of minutes, everything came into place.”

Contacted for this story, Marion officer Brad Cady said no report had been filed yet but thought Mermis would issue a statement. Mermis, however, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Although authorities would not release the name of the suspect, jail records indicate that Jessy Thouvenell, 28, of Marion was booked into county jail Monday on charges identical to those cited by Craft.

“I think everything was handled well with the lockdown,” Leiker said. “At this point, we’re still analyzing everything that was done and will take this opportunity to learn from it to keep our district as safe as possible.”

An email alert was sent to inform parents.

Jenile Taylor, who has a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy at the school, said she received her email around 3 p.m., an hour after the incident. but did not immediately read it.

“I didn’t check my e-mail until last night so I didn’t know until late,” she said. “My kids didn’t even mention the lockdown. I think the school handled the situation as best they could.”

Sara Miller, mother of an 8-year old boy at the school, said Tuesday that she hadn’t heard anything about the lockdown and her son didn’t know why it happened either.

Leiker said he couldn’t recall whether the elementary school had practiced a lockdown before. He said the district had talked about practicing one at the middle school, but it never transpired.

An intruder drill was performed at the high school in 2012.

“The intruder drill was very effective at the high school,” Leiker said. “But it’s not something we do every year.”

During a lockdown students are kept in their classrooms and no one is allowed to enter or exit the building.

Last modified Jan. 7, 2015