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Unsubstantiated report of gun prompts lockdown at Groton day care

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published February 22. 2013 3:00PM   Updated February 23. 2013 12:02AM

Groton — More than 30 children at a Groton day care center were held in lockdown for about an hour Friday following what police called an unsubstantiated report of a man with a gun.

At 2:30 p.m., Groton Town police were called to the Early Childhood Development Center and Child Guidance Clinic at 591 Poquonnock Road.

Police questioned a 17-year-old man after a woman reported seeing him with a handgun. No gun was found, but the report also prompted a precautionary lockdown at the nearby Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School. In a statement to parents issued by the school system during the incident, the school administration said the lockdown was lifted by police at approximately 3 p.m., and all students, faculty and staff are safe.

Groton Town Police Lt. Jeffrey Scribner said the 17-year-old in question was located at a counseling center upstairs from the day care. The two facilities, run by the Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut, share a lobby.

Police said they searched the man, the building and the nearby grounds with the help of a police dog team but found no weapon. The man was carrying a cellphone.

Clarissa Miles, site manager for the child care center, said the man had never entered the day care, which is locked to anyone who does not have a key code.

"We took action immediately," Miles said. "The children were never in danger."

The children were held inside during the police investigation while anxious parents waited outside.

Chris Acevedo was in New London when he said he got a call from his 3-year-old daughter's mother, who at that time was at the day care center but did not have any details of why children were not being released.

"I flew down here," Acevedo said. "I really didn't know what was going on."

Staff writer Julianne Hanckel contributed to this report.

g.smith@theday.com

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