Man eluding police impacts campus


Valerie Ferretti

Police blocked off Brevard Avenue after a man barricaded himself in a house Wednesday afternoon.

Thespians, soccer players and those waiting for parents to pick them up had their afternoon routines interrupted Wednesday after school when a man barricaded himself in a nearby house while attempting to elude police. Nearly six hours later, law enforcement officials took 24-year-old Wade Dante Jackson into custody.

During a police chase, Jackson, who has been convicted of drug-related felonies, crashed his car into a tree on Brevard Street and then ran into a stranger’s house. Occupants of that house immediately fled to safety outside.

Senior Erica Denni said she was driving in the neighborhood when the incident occurred.

“Me and three other girls that are on dance team were driving to dinner like after school and before the play and stuff,” she said. “We were driving down Neiman towards Babcock and we saw an undercover cop pull over on one of the side streets. And then we saw these people get into this green car and they reversed all the way down on the road and then they turned and drove away. After that, all these cops and SWAT people started chasing them. It was really scary because we saw the whole thing. We did not actually see them shoot anyone but we saw them prepared with the guns.”

Students rehearsing in the school auditorium for this weekend’s production of “The King and I” were told to remain inside.

“I was kind of scared because I didn’t know what was happening, and I kept hearing different stories,” freshman Lauren McMillan said. “I wasn’t sure what was true  and what wasn’t.  I heard there was a drive by and someone just shot at the gas station, then I heard that the cops were tackling him, then I heard that he tried to rob the gas station, then I heard he was in some family’s house and the cops were surrounding him.”

McMillan first learned of the disturbance from her mother who is a school guidance counselor but said she already was curious as to why helicopters were flying overhead.

“My mom called and she told me that we were going on lockdown and to talk to [drama teacher Maureen] Fallon and tell her to lock the doors and make sure everyone was OK.”

Girls trying out for the soccer team also were impacted as they were told to move from the field to inside the gym.

“Soccer tryouts were cut short and that only gave us 35 minutes,” junior Mikayla Almeida said.

Journalism 1 students Kaylee Willner and Fletcher Coard contributed to this report.