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SCARE CONTINUED FROM A7

ners and smartphone scanners on the scene said that a woman walked into the bank with a bomb. Many on the street passed along a story that Hoem had walked into the bank and placed a bomb on an employee’s neck demanding money. At some point during the robbery, the mother of one, told the bank manager that she was being forced to rob them by four men, according to court documents. To ensure she did the job, the men were watching her son at his Port Orchard school on Mullinex Road. Hoem was to get $50,000 from the bank and give the money to the men during a meet up at the East Bremerton WalMart on Wheaton Way, according to court documents. In response, police ordered a lockdown at the Mullinex Ridge Elementary School in Port Orchard as soon as they learned the name of Hoem’s son. Shortly after, police released the school saying there was no threat. “We had no credible information about anyone being at the school that

would have caused abnormal alarm,” said deputy Ben Herrin. While at the school, police learned from the boy’s father that Hoem had mental problems and was taking medication. Following Hoem’s arrest, a bomb technician entered the bank and left several times before police began to slowly return the busy commercial corridor to normal. A group of pet shop employees at Naturally 4 Paws said that as police began to fill the strip mall parking lot authorities entered the store, caring AR-15 rifles and warned them to get away from the windows. “They were worried about shrapnel,” employee Matt Hornburg said From a safe room in the back of the pet store, Hornburg said he was able to find about what was going directly across the street by checking Facebook on his smartphone. Nino Bokuku, 37, said he got off work at the Olive Garden at 3 p.m. and traffic was backed up on Randall Way. He parked his car in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet, across the street from KeyBank, and was later told by a sheriff ’s deputy to move his car further away. “He told me the area needed to be cleared. It’s surprising to me that something like this would happen in the middle of the day,” Bokuku said. Nearby businesses evacuated or closed for the day. Sharon Turner, 59, who had intended to go shopping at Grocery Outlet thought that there was a car wreck that had caused all the traffic backup. “You never think nothing like this would happen,” she said. “I’ve lived here all my life.”

LOCKDOWN CONTINUED FROM A1

drill,” Beil said. “It is not typical that a school does a lockdown other than in a drill situation in a school year.” When Armin Jahr went into lockdown Feb. 22, Carol Cox’s two grandchildren who attend the school said they felt safe and that their teachers were in control of the situation. Cox has a grandson in second grade and a granddaughter in fourth grade at the school. A third-grade boy brought a handgun to school that accidentally discharged while in his backpack at the end of the school day. The bullet struck classmate Amina Kocer-Bowman, who has undergone many surgeries and is still in the hospital. Cox said that the school did the best they could have, although it was scary for some parents who did not know if their children were injured. “It would have been nice to notify parents, but it was at the end of the school day,” Cox said, adding that get-

Friday, March 23, 2012

ting communication out quickly at that time is difficult. During the lockdown, all the window blinds were put down, the lights were turned off and all the students went to the furthest corner of the room, Cox’s granddaughter said. “The staff did an excellent job in a difficult situation,” Cox said. “The kids knew what to do.” The day after the lockdown, Armin Jahr’s principal sent a letter out to all families explaining the reason for the lockdown as well as information that grief counselors were available for students, staff and families. Pat t y G l a s e r, Bremerton School District’s spokeswoman, said that nothing has changed in the district’s policies or procedures in response to the incident at Armin Jahr. Lockdown drills at the schools are practiced on a monthly basis, she said. “Those are systems you have in place to be proactive,” Glaser said. Bremerton schools have a zero tolerance for weapons at school — as well as in Central and South Kitsap — and the

rules are explained in the student handbook. Every year, students receive the handbook and have the rules explained to them. It is also available online at the district’s website. February’s situation at Armin Jahr could have been avoided had someone checked the student’s backpack before heading to school, Glaser said. “We are partners with the parents. We have a role with the children as do they,” she said. It’s not necessarily always a check for weapons, but making sure there is no day-old lunch in a child’s backpack or that a library book gets returned to school, Glaser said. Staci Rigby, who has a daughter in kindergarten at Armin Jahr, said things like an increase in police presence around the school is reassuring. From a community safety standpoint in general, more people do not walk alone or at night, she said. Could the school have done anything else to have prevented what happened that Wednesday afternoon at her daughter’s school? “You don’t see it coming. It just happens,” Rigby said.

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Central Kitsap Reporter, March 23, 2012  

March 23, 2012 edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter

Central Kitsap Reporter, March 23, 2012  

March 23, 2012 edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter