Eastern York HS locked down during police search
Police on Tuesday continued to search for a man they say impersonated a student while entering Eastern York High School the previous day.
Lower Windsor Township Police say they chased but ultimately didn't catch Timothy Justin Hannah Jr., 23, of York City, after Hannah went to the school to meet up with a student there, according to township police Chief Tim Caldwell.
Caldwell said there's no indication Hannah was there to cause harm to anyone, including the girl he had come to meet.
But nonetheless, that's trespassing, the chief said, and it's a crime — as is fleeing from police, and Hannah likely will face those and related charges when officers do catch up with him.
"Every person who is a non-student is required to check in," Caldwell said.
Hannah has active warrants for criminal trespassing and fleeing from police out of York City, according to court records.
Caldwell said Hannah entered the high school building Monday morning, invited by someone who the district says is his girlfriend. A school staff member noticed and tried to take Hannah to the office, but he instead quickly left the school premises, Caldwell said. He said Hannah told the staff member that he was a new student.
Caldwell said that if the staff member hadn't noticed, Hannah likely just would have come and gone and no one would have been any the wiser.
"Realistically, nothing would have happened," he said.
This comes at a busy time for police at Eastern High. The last week has seen four bomb threats, including one Tuesday, shut down Eastern York Middle School. The middle school and the high school went into lockdown Monday as police searched for Hannah, the district said.
Two middle school students were suspended last week after three bomb threats caused three schoolwide evacuations in four days.
Eastern York School District posted a letter addressed to parents and guardians on its website after school Monday, explaining what had happened.
The district contacted Lower Windsor Township police — the high school is located in that township — and officers came out to help the school try to figure out who the man was, the letter stated.
Police watched video footage that helped them identify Hannah, Caldwell said. Police began to look for him, with one officer remaining at the high school, which, along with the district's nearby middle school, was placed in lockdown at 1:35 p.m. after someone reported seeing the man near the schools, the letter states.
Caldwell said he asked the school to go into a sort of lockdown — "I'm using that word loosely," he said — to make sure that all the school doors were closed and that no one was opening them up for Hannah.
The schools delayed dismissal as police searched; officers ultimately didn't catch Hannah, Caldwell said. He said one of his officers saw Hannah at one point and chased him but did not catch him. Lt. Lou, the York County Sheriff's bloodhound, sniffed around and found a trail, but by that point Hannah was long gone, the chief said.
The district stressed in the letter that there's no threat from this man to anyone at the schools going forward, but an officer was stationed at the schools Tuesday morning as students and staff arrived.
The school also notes that students should follow the prescribed safety procedures and not open doors for people who aren't students or staff.
Anyone with questions can contact the district or school administration, said the letter, which is from high school principal Timothy Mitzel, middle school principal Keith Shoemaker and district Superintendent Darla Pianowski.