Updated: Incident leads to Champaign schools lockdown (w/video)

Updated: Incident leads to Champaign schools lockdown (w/video)

CHAMPAIGN — Five Champaign Unit 4 schools and one administrative building were placed on lockdowns this afternoon following an incident near the school buildings.

Central High School, Franklin Middle School, Stratton Elementary School, the Early Childhood Center Novak Academy and the Columbia Center were all placed on soft lockdown. Students, faculty and staff could move about inside the building, but no one was allowed to enter or exit. 

The schools were placed on lockdown just before 2 p.m. Wednesday after the school district was advised to do so, according to Unit 4 Spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart. She could not confirm details of what prompted the lockdown, but Champaign Police Sgt. Dennis Baltzell said investigators are currently searching for a man, later identified as Marquis Jones, 18. Police in the area recognized Jones. When the man saw police officers on North State Street moving toward him, he began to run, pulled out a pistol and dropped it in his line of flight, according to Baltzell.

Police have not been able to locate Jones.

The lockdown was lifted at all five schools and Columbia Center at 2:22 p.m. District officials originally thought Stratton students might be held past dismissal time.

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chief21 wrote on May 06, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Gettin the idea that anything near  Central H.S. and North is not safe. North of University.....not exactly Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

annabellissimo wrote on May 06, 2015 at 5:05 pm

While it may be tempting to say "this neighborhood is bad...dangerous..." and "that neighborhood is good...safe...", it is not at all good for a community to think that way. A healthy, prosperous, safe community for all is when we think of the entire community as "our neighborhood" and if there are dangers and bad aspects to one area, it is a problem for all, not just some "other." Champaign-Urbana seems to be going the way of Peoria, Springfield, Rockford, all cities in which once nice, safe areas have been ruined by crime and "flight" to suburbs, where once beautiful homes have been ruined by crime, destruction, vandalism. Neighborhoods that long ago were segregated made the transition to integrated then to segregated again and now are considered "bad" neighborhoods - and yet they are the neighborhoods of those cities. America has serious problems and the only facets of society that seem to be blamed for everything are the police - but they are the "thin blue line" between civilized and uncivilized society, and the very few "bad apples" are making life very difficult for the majority who are trying to, literally, keep the peace. Who else is doing that work? Who in Champaign-Urbana is trying to hold onto a civilized, safe, good community for all and who are the rats who do not care if they ruin everything for everybody? Any American citizen ought to be able to go into any American neighborhood, day or night, without fear and with pride for what a good place to live America is - in reality, not fantasy. In the sixties, the social/political movements in C/U were all about moving businesses, and jobs, into northside areas, with the idea being to reduce crime and poverty, to provide opportunity for better lives, when UIUC volunteer programs were all aimed at northside areas. Has anything gotten any better in decades? It seems that there is a stratum of society, of all "colors, that is hellbent on predation and destruction - crime, drugs, all manner of anti-social behavior - and other than piecemeal patching, where is any society-wide, concerted effort to make THIS country better, to fend off all of the myriad ways in which we are sinking fast?

mikeyy wrote on May 06, 2015 at 5:05 pm

no neighboor is safe,,, schools are buildings just like office buildings,,,  my point is i work in these builds everyday,  i see tornado, fire drill maps,, as a mandated reporter of all sit,, NO LOCK DOWN DRILLS  LIGHT OR MAJOR,,, IN MY OPION A LOCK DOWN IS A LOCKDOWN,,,,,