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Allegedly armed man detained after Chamberlain school incident

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

CHAMBERLAIN -- A man is in custody after he allegedly brought a handgun onto the St. Joseph's Indian School campus Monday afternoon, but no charges have been filed.

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Chamberlain Chief of Police Joe Hutmacher said the man's name is not being released, but the man is being held and evaluated at the Brule County Jail.

The Chamberlain Police Department was called to St. Joseph's at 2:21 p.m. after dispatch received a call that a former school employee was on campus threatening to take his own life, Hutmacher said.

"We arrived within about a minute," Hutmacher said. "And the school went into lockdown."

Law enforcement spotted the man standing outside his vehicle near the entrance to the school along Main Street. When the man saw officers approaching, he ran away.

Officers pursued the man on foot and in vehicles. He refused to comply with law enforcement and was shot with a stun gun and taken into custody, Hutmacher said.

"When we took him into custody, he did not have a weapon on him," Hutmacher added. "We later recovered a handgun from his vehicle on campus."

The school was locked down for less than 10 minutes, said the Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, director of St. Joseph's.

Students and staff had practiced for a lockdown within the last two months, Huffstetter said in an interview Tuesday with The Daily Republic.

"The kids get out of sight in locked rooms with all the blinds and windows closed," Huffstetter said. "It's amazing even when we do tests. The kids are really quiet. You can't tell they're in there."

Huffstetter said he's still a bit shaken by Monday's incident, as is his staff. He said the students seemed calm afterward because some may not have known the lockdown was real.

"Unfortunately, this is why we practice these things," Huffstetter said. "We just hope the person who did this is able to get the help he needs."

The Brule County Sheriff's Office also responded the call.

The Brule County State's Attorney's Office will handle the matter since St. Joseph's Indian School is outside Chamberlain city limits, Hutmacher added.

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