UPDATED 5:55 p.m., 7:50 p.m.
IOWA CITY – Twain Elementary School in Iowa City was put in a lock down Wednesday afternoon as law enforcement officers searched for a subject who fled near the school.
All students and staff are safe, Superintendent Stephen Murley said.
The incident occurred just minutes before the end of the school day, causing changes to the normal pick-up routine. But Murley said everyone from police to school staff to children performed admirably.
“It went very smoothly given how everything unfolded," he said.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were conducting an investigation on Spruce Court, which is immediately east of Twain Elementary, when the subject fled at 2:49 p.m., according to an Iowa City police news release. The school was locked down as a precaution, police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said.
The school day ends at 2:55 p.m. With a lock down, nobody is allowed in or out of a building.
School buses and parents were arriving to pick up children, however, and the streets outside the school, 1355 DeForest Ave., were getting crowded, Murley said.
The district had the seven buses move off site and then return one at a time. Officers would search a bus, staff would escort the students out, and then the next bus would arrive and repeat the process.
All other children had to be signed out by a caregiver, or a school staffer could release them to an adult they recognized, Murley said. Twain parents were notified of the situation by an automated phone call.
Murley said training all staff members have gone through on crisis situations proved valuable. By coincidence, the district has decided to offer the same training to interested parents, and those sessions are occurring over the coming weeks.
Authorities were still trying to locate the subject as of 5:15 p.m. The public was advised to keep their homes secure and to notify police of any suspicious activity.
Mark Carlson contributed to this report.