SOLON, Ohio (WJW) — Police fired shots near Roxbury Elementary School Thursday morning while pursuing an armed suspect fleeing a stolen minivan.
No one was struck by gunfire, but the incident forced the school into lockdown and had some parents fearing the worst.
It happened at about 10:30 a.m. along Solon Boulevard, according to a Thursday news release. Solon police were pursuing a stolen Honda minivan believed to be involved in an aggravated robbery that took place on Tuesday, April 4.
The minivan fled south on SOM Center Road, then west on Arthur Road, then north on Solon Boulevard, where the suspect rear-ended another vehicle near the elementary school, and came to a stop, according to police.
The suspect got out of the car with a loaded handgun, police said.
“Shots were fired and the suspect fled on foot southeast-bound through some backyards,” a press release read. “After a short foot chase, the suspect surrendered.”
The incident had the school and entire community on edge.
“I heard a car crash and I was really worried because it was when half-day kindergarteners get dismissed, so I was worried that something had happened with a child and then right after I heard gunshots. Pop, pop, pop,” said parent Lindsay Karklin.
Karklin was working from home when the pursuit ended in front of her house. Her daughter is a 4th grader at Roxbury Elementary School.
“I saw a police officer running, chasing somebody. I was terrified, I did not know at that time that it wasn’t involving the school. I thought maybe this was someone running from the school,” she said.
“We thought it was just a lockdown drill, like practicing it, but then our teacher said that it was real, so I got scared,” said her daughter, Alex.
A Solon police officer was involved in the shooting, according to the release. Lt. William Vajdich later clarified that the officer fired more than once at the suspect, who was not struck. Police do not yet know if the suspect fired his gun.
“This is all part of the investigation, which is ongoing,” Vajdich wrote in an email.
The school was placed into lockdown Thursday, which was later lifted.
Alex’s mother had called her dad, who rushed over as they received an email from the school.
“When I got the call, the first thing that I kind of had to face was the thought that something had happened to her and that’s an absolutely terrifying feeling,” said Alex’s father, Cliff Karklin.
“Gave her extra hugs for sure,” said Alex’s mother.
The driver and passenger of the vehicle that was rear-ended suffered minor injuries, police said. Police didn’t find any property damage or injuries elsewhere in the vicinity of the shooting.
Solon Boulevard was closed between Arthur Road and Orchard Road, but later reopened, police announced just before 4 p.m. Thursday.
Police may release new information on Friday, according to the release.