Officers still searching for weapon after lockdown at Hannibal, Mo., schools

Richard King (Submitted Photo)
Posted: Feb. 5, 2013 4:26 pm Updated: Feb. 26, 2013 5:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Hannibal police continue to search for a firearm they believe a 22-year-old man had in his possession Tuesday afternoon when he was spotted near two school buildings.

Police said Richard King of Hannibal was taken into custody after officers received a report at 1:08 p.m. Tuesday about a man with a gun being spotted near the Hannibal High School and Hannibal Middle School buildings on McMasters Ave.

Both schools were locked down for about an hour as a precaution while police searched for King, who was eventually found hiding inside the Hannibal YMCA.

Lt. John Zerbonia said Wednesday morning that King did not have a weapon when he was apprehended, but officers are continuing their investigation. He was carrying a walkie-talkie device that could have been confused with a gun, Zerbonia said. King has yet to be charged in the case.

"We didn't locate (a weapon) on him, and that doesn't mean that he didn't ditch it somewhere," Zerbonia said.

Police received a report that a man in a dark coat and jeans was walking toward Hannibal Middle School with what was believed to be a handgun.

An officer, who arrived at the scene after being dispatched, saw a man who matched the description walking in the rear parking lot of the middle school. Upon making contact with the man, police said he became verbally confrontational and fled on foot. He was pursued through the Catholic Cemetery and onto the Park United Methodist Church parking lot, where the officer lost sight of him.

Shortly after, Hannibal police received information that an unknown subject entered an unsecured rear door of the Hannibal YMCA. After arriving at the Y, officers found King hiding in a small room in the facility.

He was found to have an outstanding warrant for a parole violation and was placed on a 24-hour hold for other charges related to the incident.

Hannibal Superintendent Jill Janes said she received notice from police about the situation at about 1:15 p.m. The two schools were immediately locked down.

"We have such a good relationship that they call us immediately, and they let us know if there's anything we need to be concerned about," Janes said. "We follow their lead."

Janes said the procedures went smoothly. The subject never entered the school.

Officers gave the schools an "all clear" announcement at about 2:15 p.m. The schools were dismissed in a routine fashion Tuesday afternoon.



Editor's note: This story has been updated since its original posting.