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Police: Parent suicide at Pickerington Ridgeview Junior High School prompts lockdown

Police intitially were called to the school Thursday morning on a report of an active shooter.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Pickerington police report that the stepfather of a junior high student died by suicide at Pickerington Ridgeview Junior High School Thursday morning.

Police Chief Tod Cheney said a student's mother and stepfather were at the school in regards to a non-criminal, school-related situation involving the student. During that meeting the school learned of possible criminal violations and called police.

Cheney said they were notified by school administration of a possible criminal act that was committed by the stepfather. The alleged act did not occur on school property, Cheney said.

A school resource officer and detective were quickly dispatched to the school where the student, the student’s mother and stepfather were to investigate the matter.

The responding detective went into the office to speak with the stepfather and the two had a brief conversation before the man produced a handgun and took his own life, according to Cheney.

According to Cheney, the child and mother were not in the room, but were in the vicinity. No one else was injured in the incident.

Cheney said that he does not believe that the man was threatening anybody at the time. Police did not disclose any details of the reported criminal act.

The school was immediately placed into lockdown and secured by arriving officers. Students were evacuated to Pickerington Central High School where parents were asked to pick up their children.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing at this time.

All schools in the district will be closed Friday. There will also be no classes on Monday and Tuesday due to previously scheduled teacher work days.

Counseling support will be available for students, families and staff Friday at the Pickerington Central gymnasium from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The parents of students who left behind items during the lockdown can pick them up between noon and 2 p.m. The school district is asking parents to park in the main parking lot and walk to the stadium side of the building. Then enter the school through Door F and go to the cafeteria. Parents will then exit through Door B toward the parking lot.

In a message, the district also encouraged parents to discuss the incident with their children.

Pickerington Local School District released the following message:

"In light of the severity of the tragic incident that occurred today all classes in Pickerington Local School District will be canceled tomorrow Friday, February 3rd. Families please use this time to talk with your children to help them process through the events of the day. Please note that counseling support for students, families, and staff will be available tomorrow at Pickerington High School Central in the gymnasium from 8:30am to 12:30pm. Expanded counseling support will be available as needed. Thank you!"

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or 988 any time of day or night or chat online.

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