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Valley Elementary Locked Down While Sheriff Searches for Suicidal Man

The area was cleared around 2:15 p.m. and classes resumed as normal, officials said.

Valley Elementary School in Poway was locked down for about 30 minutes Thursday afternoon while a Sheriff's Department helicopter searched for a man who officials thought might be attempting suicide, authorities said.

No one was found and the area was cleared, San Diego County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said.

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The school was not asked by the sheriff's department to lock down, but school officials chose to "out of an abundance of caution," said Sharon Raffer, spokeswoman for the Poway Unified School District.

The school went into lockdown from 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. after school officials spoke with law enforcement, Raffer said.

Principal Andy Johnsen also sent the following message to Valley Elementary parents about the lockdown:

Good afternoon Valley Families, 

Today, January 10th at about 1:45 the Poway Sheriff was searching for an individual in the general vicinity of our school by helicopter. We made immediate contact with the Sheriff’s department, who did not direct us to lock down the school at that time. However, out of an abundance of caution we did lock down for approximately 30 minutes. The Sheriff informed us at 2:15 that the situation had been handled and we resumed our regular activities for the remainder of the school day. 

I am very proud of our students and staff who handled themselves with perfect poise during this brief situation, and who followed our emergency procedures exactly as we practice them. Please continue to reinforce with your children at home the importance of following instructions and staying safe during our emergency drills. 

Thank you and have a nice evening.

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