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Hunting Scare Puts Easton School on Lockdown

EASTON, Conn. – Word of a man hunting in nearby woods led to a "soft lockdown" of Samuel Staples Elementary School Wednesday morning.

Police immediately searched the property of the Aquarion water company behind the school and found Lawrence Murphy, 50, of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., bow hunting without a permit, and the lockdown was then lifted.

“No one knew about the lockdown except for administrators," said Easton Police Capt. James Candee. "I don’t think the kids knew what was happening.”

During the lockdown, Candee said, no one was allowed to enter or exit the school, although students and faculty were permitted to roam freely inside. At no point were children at risk, Candee said.

A woman walking her dog in the rear parking lot of the Morehouse Roasd school at around 8:20 a.m. called police after spotting a suspicious vehicle with New York plates, Candee said.

When officers arrived they noticed what appeared to be a firearm case on the rear seat of the vehicle. Candee said officers believed the person was hunting illegally nearby and issued the “soft lockdown” of the school at 9:15 as a precaution.

Murphy was given an infraction for simple trespass and an official from the state Department of Environmental Protection, who was called to the scene, cited Murphy for bow hunting without a permit.

Candee said Murphy had hunted on the Aquarion property with a permit last year, but tried to sneak onto the property through school grounds this year “because he did not have a permit.”

Candee commended the woman who made the initial call. “She did what she was supposed to do. We urge everyone to call us if they see anything out of the ordinary. That is what we are here for.”

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