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Man in custody in connection to elementary school 'active shooter' call

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Posted at 4:53 PM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-08 11:22:47-04

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A man is in custody after police were called to an Upper Marlboro elementary for an active shooter on Friday.

It all unfolded around 4:15 p.m. outside Patuxent Elementary School in the 4400 block of Bishop Mill Road.

Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said a man they identified as Ricardo Joseph Campbell, walked into the school holding a grill lighter, and began making threatening statements and acting strangely, prompting a school worker to call 911.

The school was then placed on lock down while officers searched inside for the suspect and any possible victims.

According to Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Monica Goldson, six students were still inside at the time, as part of an aftercare program.

After police found no suspect and no weapon or any evidence of shots being fired, the students were all safely escorted out of the building.

Campbell, who police say is around 40-years-old, had already left before police arrived, but a K-9 was able to track him down, allowing for police to take him into custody.

Police think drugs may have played a part in Campbell's behavior. They say Campbell is undergoing interrogation.

Stawinski said he thinks the call was characterized as an active shooter after the caller confused the grill lighter for a gun.

"You seen these, its a long nozzle with a trigger on it," said Goldson. "This day in age, people in a school environment, people will misperceive things" said Stawinski. "What I will say to that is even if you didn't see anything, if you have a concern that someone is in a school or in an office building, or in your community trying to do harm, call [police] and let us be the ones to deal with that. But I think the fact that he had [the lighter] and then his bizarre behavior, those two things came together and reciprocated that call."

The entire news conference with Stawinski and Goldson can be watched below.