Activist Arrested After School Gun Incident; Lockdown
Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - Buffalo police have arrested a well known anti violence advocate on Buffalo's East side and charged him with having a handgun on school grounds, triggering an hours long lockdown at BPS 97, the Harvey Austin Elementary School on Sycamore Street Thursday.
Police say Dwayne Ferguson of Buffalo, 62, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon including having a loaded weapon on school grounds. Police say Ferguson was in possession of handgun inside the school.
Ferguson is the President of the Buffalo chapter of MADD Dads, and on the National Board of Directors for the anti violence coalition that works with kids in the inner city. He was working in the school's afterschool program, according to a statement from School Superintendent Pamela Brown
"The person who was reported to have transported a weapon into Harvey Austin School 97 was known to the district, and was working for an after school provider through a Community Based Organization. Due to laws that are in place, and whether this was an intentional act or an oversight on the part of the individual in question, this is now a police matter, " the statement says.
Students were bused to School 91 to be picked up by parents, and some roadways and intersections nearby the school were blocked for several hours Thursday. Staff began placing calls to all parent homes in order to inform them. Once the building was cleared of all individuals, the police teams searched the entire building and declared it safe.
"Student Support Teams will be present at the school tomorrow for those children who need to discuss today’s alarming incident. In addition we will review district procedures to ensure that similar incidents do not occur. I understand our parents’ concerns, and I express my deepest apologies for the anxiety they have experienced.," Brown said in a statement on Thursday.
Police will increase their watch and maintain a vigilant presence at the school for the remainder of the week.