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Westport Schools Placed On Lockdown As Protesters Enter Temple Israel

Daniel Fischer, 25, of New Haven was arrested after causing a disturbance at Temple Israel in Westport, police said.
Daniel Fischer, 25, of New Haven was arrested after causing a disturbance at Temple Israel in Westport, police said. Photo Credit: Westport Police Department
Gregory Williams, 25, of New Haven was arrested after causing a disturbance at Temple Israel in Westport, police said.
Gregory Williams, 25, of New Haven was arrested after causing a disturbance at Temple Israel in Westport, police said. Photo Credit: Westport Police Department

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Several Westport schools were placed on lockdown Tuesday after two men attempted to protest a talk involving members of the Israeli Defense Force at the nearby Temple Israel, police said.

Daniel Fischer, 25, and Gregory Williams, 25, of New Haven were each charged with first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree breach of peace. Each was released on $1,500 bond and will appear in court May 21.

Police received a call around 1 p.m. that Fischer and Williams were protesting at Temple Israel, where a talk was being held with members of the IDF.

Shortly after the initial call, police received additional calls that one of the men had a gun, police said. Officers arrived and took custody of Fischer and Williams at a second-floor meeting room, where staff members had physically detained them, police said.

No gun was found, but officers said a witness had seen one of the men approaching with a shirt over his arm and hand, which led some to initially believe that he was carrying a gun, police said.

During the initial police response, Coleytown Middle School, Coleytown Elementary School, the preschool at the Unitarian Church and the Temple Israel nursery were put into lockdown until officers were able to clear the buildings, police said.

Weston police assisted during the incident.

Officers learned that Fischer and Williams had arrived at Temple Israel to protest the appearance of the IDF, police said.

When they entered the building, the two men were confronted by staff and told to leave, police said.

They refused, and pushed past staff members in an attempt to enter the meeting place, police said.

Temple Israel staff members had to physically restrain them to keep them from entering the meeting place, according to police reports.

As the two were detained, they kept shouting various statements regarding the IDF, police said. Their actions created enough concern that several attendees left the building out of fear for their safety, police said.

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