Police: No ‘active shooter’ despite college’s text to students

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Schools in southwest Allen County were briefly locked down early Friday as police searched for a suspect, but one college sent an erroneous text alert about an “active shooter.”

Around 10 a.m. Friday, an Allen County Sheriff’s deputy tried to pull a man over along West Jefferson Boulevard between Liberty Mills and Coventry Lane, but the vehicle sped north toward Woodstream Drive. There, department spokesman Adam Griffith said the man jumped out and ran off.

Police searched for the man for just more than an hour, but called it off. Sheriff David Gladieux has identified the suspect as Joshua Pritchard. Gladieux said Pritchard has active warrants in Allen County and Dekalb County. According to public records, Pritchard faces several charges, including domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury and pointing a firearm.

Gladieux made the traffic stop because he said the car ran a red light. He said Pritchard ditched is car at his girlfriend’s mother’s house in the 8900 block of Woodstream drive. A pit bull was inside the car at the time. Pritchard ran inside the home then out of the back door into a wooded area. A witness said he later saw Pritchard hiding in the bushes at Coventry Villas before he ran off again.

As police searched for the him, at 10:12 a.m., International Business College sent a text alert to students that said the school was on lock down, and students were ordered to stay in their apartments.

Then, though, at 10:40 a.m., the school sent another text that indicated there was an “active shooter in the area,” and students were told to “stay where you are.”

International Business College sent two text alerts to students Friday, Oct. 13, 2017 that indicated there was an active shooter in the area.

Five Southwest Allen County schools were placed on a lockout “as a precautionary measure due to police activity in the area,” and additional security measures were set in place at Homestead High School, the district said. Those lockouts were lifted around 11:30 a.m.

No active shooter was reported to Fort Wayne or Allen County police, NewsChannel 15 learned.

There has been no information to suggest that suspect had a gun or fired one. Dispatchers said the suspect had been known to carry a gun previously, however.

NewsChannel 15 called International Business College for information about the text alerts, but was told the school was trying to conduct business and had no comment. The line was twice disconnected.

Gladieux said there will be additional warrants filed, including resisting arrest, fleeing in a car, and driving without a license.