BEATRICE – Two Beatrice Public School buildings and a private elementary went into secure status Thursday, as police investigated an incident with a possibly armed man.

School Superintendent Jason Alexander says students were kept inside Paddock Lane Elementary and the Beatrice Middle School during the incident. Also placed on secure status was St. Paul’s Lutheran School.

Beatrice Police Director Jay Murphy says it all began Thursday morning when police found an abandoned vehicle near 16th and High… stolen out of Lincoln.
Later, police were sent to 14th and Scott Streets on a report of a male going in and out of garages. Police could not locate the man….but then received another report during the afternoon.

"Around 2:50 yesterday afternoon, a female at 18-hundred Scott confronted a man who was inside her vehicle. The male started to walk away and the female followed him. The male pulled what appeared to be a handgun from his waistline and held it to his side....and then turned around, the left."

Police, state patrol and sheriff’s officers began a search for the suspect who was spotted near 16th and Monroe Streets.  "A short foot pursuit started with the suspect, and he was apprehended near the intersection of 16th and Park, in the back yard of a residence."

Murphy says police recovered the handgun, which turned out to be a pellet gun….along with a cellphone belonging to the suspect. The phone was recovered from the vehicle of the woman who had reported the man to police.

The suspect was apprehended just as schools were dismissing for the day…with some students likely already going home by private vehicle or bus.
"The hard thing about that is schools are all letting out at the time, so if there's a danger like that around the schools, we at least try to put them in secure (status) they can keep the kids inside, keep the doors locked. During dismissal time, that's a really hard thing to do. They were in secure for ten, maybe fifteen minutes...if that."

The suspect was a 17-year-old juvenile runaway from Norfolk, who had a pending Madison County felony warrant for theft and terroristic threats. He turns 18, Friday…..and is identified as Christopher Wright.

He was held in a separate juvenile holding cell at the Gage County Sheriff’s Office….and Wright is now booked as an adult.