Updated at 1:01 p.m. June 14
UPDATE: Prosecutor IDs Armed Man Arrested on School Grounds in Westfield Thursday
WESTFIELD, NJ – Authorities placed Tamaques Elementary School in Westfield on lockdown for a brief time Thursday afternoon as police arrested an armed man who was waiting in the parking lot, police said.
The incident took place around 4 p.m., after school dismissal.
Police Chief Chris Battiloro said in a statement that officers responded to a call from Delaware State Police seeking an individual they believed may be on the premises of Tamaques School.
“Police responded immediately and found the individual in his car in the Tamaques School parking lot, in possession of a firearm and ammunition,” Battiloro said. “The individual was immediately taken into custody while the building was placed on lockdown with after-school activities in session.”
Authorities arrested Thomas J. Wilkie, 46, of Bear, Delaware, said acting Union County Prosecutor Jennifer Davenport in a statement Friday.
A witness to the arrest told TAPinto Westfield that she saw about eight police officers in the parking lot of the school arresting a man.
“We turned into Tamaques School, and there were quite a few Westfield cop cars and we saw somebody being arrested,” said Kristine Jennette, a resident of Westfield.
Jennette said she also saw police vehicles blocking entrances to the school grounds as officers placed the man on his stomach at 4:03 p.m. Some of the officers were dressed in plain clothes, Jennette said.
Police had announced the lockdown in a Nixle alert at 4:24 p.m. and in a second alert at 4:47 p.m., police announced that parents were permitted to pick up their children.
“A security sweep of the building and its perimeter was conducted prior to the lockdown being lifted at approximately 5:32 p.m. and children were released to their parents without incident,” Battiloro said. “Police canines were brought in for a final, precautionary sweep.”
By 6:45 p.m., most police had left the scene, a neighbor said through the intercom of his doorbell.
Children could be seen playing lacrosse on the grounds of the school Thursday night, and one police car remained stationed outside of the school as of 7 p.m.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh