Metro-East News

School was on lockdown as a precaution, but suspects not found

Gordon Bush Elementary was put on lock down for a short period Tuesday while police searched in area near the school for the occupants of a stolen vehicle, but no one was hurt or ever in jeopardy, Superintendent Arthur Culver said.

The move was made “as a precaution,” he said.

East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Hubbard said a housing authority officer spotted a stolen vehicle and called police. The three occupants who were in the vehicle abandoned it near the school, 1516 Gross Ave., and fled on foot into a wooded area.

Police brought in a canine and searched the area for a while with no luck in capturing the suspects. The stolen vehicle was recovered, Hubbard said.

Cortez Slack, chief of Public Safety for East St. Louis Housing Authority said, “One of my officers spotted a small SUV with three occupants inside in the 1400 block of Gross Avenue. They were acting suspicious. As the officer approached the vehicle, the driver sped off. He basically did a circle. Before the driver sped off, the officer had run the license plate and the plate returned stolen out of Missouri,” Slack said.

“My officer called for back up. East St. Louis responded as did the U.S. Marshal’s Service and a St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department canine officer. ... We searched the wooded area and a couple of abandoned houses. After at least two hours, the search was disbanded,” Slack said.

The vehicle was not damaged and is being processed by police, Slack said.

Carolyn P. Smith