Platteville schools close Friday as police search for suicidal m - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Platteville schools close Friday as police search for suicidal man

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- The search for a suicidal man that caused Platteville schools to close for the day ended Friday afternoon when he was located and taken into protective custody, according to Platteville police. 

The incident began about 5 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 when the Platteville Police Department received a call about a subject that had left in a vehicle and was indicating that he was going to harm himself.

It was also reported that this person had a rifle in their possession. The vehicle was located unoccupied on Madison Street in Platteville near Moundview Park.

The man was in communication with a family member and at one point law enforcement. Due to the nature and proximity of the incident, contact was made with the Platteville School District and it was determined that school would be delayed. When the subject was not located promptly a further decision was made to cancel classes for the day.

During phone contact with the subject he related that he left the rifle in the park and gave specific information on how to locate it. Members of the Grant County Crisis Resolution Team were able to recover the gun from a wooded area in Moundview Park.

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- 27 News has received a copy of the e-mail sent to Platteville parents this morning, which explains the superintendent's decision to close schools. In the e-mail, Superintendent Valenza writes to parents:

"It is difficult to be accountable for the safety of 1500 students.  I received a call at 6:10 this morning about a developing situation that was occurring off of school grounds, but in the very near vicinity of our schools and bus transfer points.  I had about 30 seconds to make a decision.  Since we had very little information, I made the decision to call a two-hour delay in hopes that there would be a resolution to the situation soon.  I cannot give lots of details to an on-going situation, because the law enforcement authorities need to have the autonomy to do their job and cannot when they get inundated by interested people. 

I can only share information that I am permitted.  When the hour was approaching 8:00 a.m., after consulting with Chief McKinley of the Platteville Police, we made a joint decision that we did not have enough information to ensure student safety on the way to school and in school.  I will determine whether we can hold evening activities at a point later in the day.  

Again, I apologize for the late and confusing information, but I had very little information myself as the situation unfolded."

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- Platteville Police have released more information about the situation that prompted closing Platteville schools Friday.

An officer told 27 News the first call came in shortly after 5:00 a.m. about a person threatening to harm himself.  Police have not found this person, but did recover weapons.  They say there was never an active shooter.  

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- The Belmont School District says it has been advised to take precautions because of the situation in Platteville.

Superintendent Christy Larson tells 27 News there is no immediate threat to Belmont schools, but they are on a soft lockdown. Larson says that means they will keep students inside all day. 

Larson says Belmont schools have a secure entrance anyway, so this will not disrupt anyone coming in or out of the schools. Students will not go out for recess. 

"We are just one of the bordering communities, so (police) put us on alert," Larson told 27 News.

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- The Platteville School District superintendent says there is an ongoing situation off school grounds, and because they couldn't ensure student safety, they decided to close all schools.

Superintendent Connie Valenza says they worked with the Grant County Sheriff's Office and the Platteville Police Department, after being informed of the situation.

Platteville Police tell 27 News there was a post circulating online about a possible active shooter in the area, but they have not found anything credible as of yet. Police are still in the area. 

Superintendent Valenza says the schools' buses meet in the area where the online post referenced, so they didn't want to endanger students.

27 News asked both agencies which area of Platteville was referenced in the post, but neither wanted to give that information at this point.

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PLATTEVILLE -- School has been canceled today in Platteville due to situation endangering student safety.

School officials have updated their earlier announcement of a two-hour delay.

According to the Platteville High School Facebook page, school has been canceled for the remainder of the day.

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