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Search for suspect puts UM students on lockdown, MCPS students on lock-in

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Feb 06 2014 08:17:40 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 10:53:52 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Authorities’ search for an alleged armed robbery suspect in Missoula impacted several area schools. Officers say there were two robberies Thursday morning at the Motel 6 and Taco Bell on East Broadway.

University of Montana officials put the campus into full lockdown mode shortly after 10 a.m. UM officials alerted staff and student with a series of texts and follow-up emails, as well as calls to every building on campus and certain exterior buildings. Officers went through the campus, locking doors and advising students to go inside.

“I’ve never had to deal with this, so being in lockdown for several hours was kind of a weird thing,” said student Natalie Law.

“I feel like it's a thing that should be better safe than sorry," said student Chelsea Pierce.

University officials decided to end the lockdown at 12:45 p.m., and classes resumed.

“I do want to remind people that as far as we know the suspect has not been apprehended, so exercise all appropriate caution,” said UM President Royce Engstrom.

Missoula County Public Schools put eight campuses into lock-in mode, which means that perimeter doors were locked but classes resumed inside.

“I was actually kind of weird because we're normally used to just a small little drill. We just kind of sat there and we kind of chilled. It wasn't a huge deal,” said Sentinel High School Student Manda Muller.

The robbery suspect is described as a man with brown hair, about 5’5” tall.  He is reportedly wearing a dark blue hoodie that may have some kind of covering over it. He is reportedly wearing blue jeans with dark shoes and white socks. 

Witnesses say he is armed with a semiautomatic handgun, reportedly last seen in his right hand. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact authorities.