Man hides in school closet, prompting school lockdown in Port Angeles
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A Port Angeles School District bus pulls away from Roosevelt Elementary School on normal schedule Tuesday afternoon. —Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Roosevelt Elementary School was locked down for 10 minutes Tuesday morning after an unauthorized, unarmed man entered unhindered through the front door.

He hid in a large closet before he was discovered by a school employee, Port Angeles Schools Superintendent Jane Pryne said.

Lester J. Diltz III, 20, of Port Angeles later was arrested without incident while sitting near a fence on the school campus, said Ron Cameron, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office chief criminal deputy.

“He did not appear to have been any threat to the kids or anyone except by his mere presence,” Cameron said.

Diltz entered the campus because was running from somebody, he told a deputy.

He was booked at the county jail for criminal trespass, possession of drug paraphernalia — syringes — and was released.

Diltz has a District Court appearance at 9 a.m. Dec. 20 to answer the charges.

Pryne said a man walked through the school’s front door at the beginning of the school day, then to the gym and then to a cafeteria closet, where he hid behind a cart when he was discovered by the employee.

Principal Michelle Olsen announced the lockdown at 8:35 a.m. over the public address system and said it was not a drill, Pryne said.

Children left the hallways and went to their classrooms, where teachers locked the doors and all the lights were turned off, she said.

“Everyone went with their teacher,” Pryne said.

“It all happened within a matter of seconds.

“It was pretty phenomenal to watch. The staff responded quickly and appropriately, and did everything they are trained to do.”

After leaving the school building, Diltz “started wandering on the playground” and was sitting by a fence when Cameron and a deputy arrived, Cameron said.

“He was cooperative,” Cameron added.

“He did not try to run.”

With 432 children, Roosevelt is the largest of Port Angeles School District’s five elementary schools.

“This puts us on alert and is a good reminder that these things can happen,” Cameron said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 03. 2013 7:40PM
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