S.W.A.T. Team Apprehended Sycamore Circle Shooter

The Regional Emergency Response Team took into custody the man who allegedly fired a gun Monday afternoon, sending a nearby elementary school into a state of lockdown.

Police have not released the name of a Willistown man who allegedly fired a gun on Sycamore Circle, causing nearby to lock just before dismissal time, around 3:30 p.m., Monday afternoon.

According to a press release from the , officers responded to a report of a subject firing a gun from his rear porch, which they found to be enclosed. When attempts at phone contact were unsuccessful, the Regional Emergency Response Team—a comprised of police officers from multiple municipalities—moved in:

West Chester Regional Emergency Response Team responded to the scene.  Emergency Response Team members entered the house and confronted the subject in the rear porch area.  The subject was taken into custody without incident.

Retired Easttown township manager Gene Williams lives on the small cul-de-sac street where the shooting occurred, but he wasn't home at the time.

"When I came back, I couldn't get into my own neighborhood," Williams said. "[There were] a large number of police cars and police equipment. A couple of the trucks looked like military vehicles, large trucks."

The school lockdown was lifted around 4:45 p.m. It's unclear at this time why the alleged shooter discharged his weapon and how many shots he fired. According to the press release, multiple agencies responded:

Willistown Police were assisted by West Chester Emergency Response Team, East Whiteland Township Police Department, Easttown Township Police Department, Tredyffrin Township Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Office, Chester County Detectives, Paoli Fire Company, and Malvern Fire Company Paramedics.

Bill Tickner, whose daughter Isabelle is a first-grader at General Wayne, said he received email alerts and a recorded phone call from Great Valley superintendent Alan Lonoconus.

"These guys handled this with complete professionalism. They sent out an email blast telling us what had happened—'There has been a report of shots fired, the school is on lockdown'—and then another one—'At 4:55, the buses are leaving, everything's fine.' It made my wife and I feel so comforted," Tickner said.

He said his daughter knew there was an unusual event and the school was on lockdown, but not that it was because of gunfire.

"She was very comforted by teachers and administrators. When she got off the bus, later than normal, it was almost like a fun thing," Tickner said. "I have nothing but high admiration for how this was handled."

Joe from Willistown March 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I have been afraid of such an overreaction for a long time, a classic case of "to a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Paramilitary response has its place in police work. There are criminal organizations as well trained and equipped as any army combat unit, although so far as I know, none operate in our specific locality. But let us be frank about this: not so many years ago, an incident such as this would have been handled by the patrolmen on duty at the time. In fact, this is perhaps a perfect example of the rationale for police departments in the first place. Why would this core police task become the subject of a civilian specops force? Why? Because the money is available and has been spent. Institutional logic demands it justify itself. God forbid we experience, here in sleepy little Willistown, the kinds of "zero tolerance/overwhelming force" compliance-driven overreactions that have taken or destroyed too many innocent lives elsewhere (Google it and you will find numerous cases). Look I am no bleeding heart Liberal. I am an American quite worried about the evolving nature of the relationship between Citizen and State, as exemplified in this case by the geometric growth of SWAT. I hope that all us are worried as well, including the (I mean this truly) dedicated men and women who wear our badges for us.


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