CINCINNATI (AP) — The arrest of a man found asleep Thursday morning in his car with guns and ammunition added anxiety in an Ohio school district where two students were shot in the cafeteria earlier this week.
Authorities said the man had been drinking and there was no evidence of any threat to Madison Local Schools. School officials were flooded with calls and social media queries from anxious parents after the new arrest about a quarter-mile from the campus, where nearly 1,600 students from pre-K through 12th grade attend.
Sheriff Richard Jones said two handguns and a box of ammunition were found in Bryan Miller’s car less than an hour before the scheduled start of classes. Jones said Miller was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and improper handling of a firearm in a car, both misdemeanors. No attorney information was available for Miller.
“We do not know what his intentions were at his time, but we are not taking any chances whatsoever,” Jones said in a statement. He said police have seized the guns and ammunition.
Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said Miller, 23, was apparently visiting acquaintances in the area, but added that Miller said during questioning that he was aware of the school shooting Monday.
“It gives us cause for concern,” Dwyer said. “In our line of work, coincidences aren’t favored very well.”
Extra deputies who have been stationed on school property in the shooting aftermath responded quickly after a caller reported a man sleeping in his vehicle near the campus, Dwyer said.
A 14-year-old student arrested in Monday’s shooting is in juvenile detention on charges including attempted murder. James Austin Hancock denied the charges through his attorney in a court appearance Tuesday. Authorities said two students were shot and two more were hurt Monday, with all expected to recover.
The nearby Middletown City School District sent out an alert Thursday morning saying Madison Schools “unfortunately has had another incident,” but that the situation was under control and everyone was safe. That spread quickly to Madison families, who called and messaged officials, who posted on the district’s Facebook page that the arrest was unrelated to the schools.
“We’re already under heightened security,” Superintendent Curtis Philpot said, adding that a new cause for alarm was unwelcome.
Middletown schools spokeswoman Destini Burns said the schools try to share information as quickly as possible, especially at a time when “everyone is on edge.” A juvenile was arrested there Monday for having a gun in school.