By Chris McKinnon


MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) — A man is in custody after someone was seen entering a Manchester, New Hampshire high school with a gun Thursday morning, police said.

The person in custody is a former student at West High School and he did have a weapon, Manchester police told WBZ-TV’s Chris McKinnon. An authentic-looking pellet gun and a folding knife were recovered from the suspect, according to police.

Pellet gun found on suspect at West High School. (Manchester police)

Pellet gun found on suspect at West High School. (Manchester police)

Classes will not get out early, but many parents were choosing to have their children dismissed, according to officials.

Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Damian J. Johnson and said he was found in an alternative classroom 1.5 hours after the search began. A teacher and a few other people were in the room and he was apprehended without a struggle, authorities said.

Damian J. Johnson (Photo credit Manchester police)

Damian J. Johnson (Photo credit Manchester police)

The school went into lockdown after a 21-year-old former student was seen with a handgun tucked in his waistband entering the building, according to police. Police said that all students were safe as they actively searched the building for the person suspected to have the firearm.

SWAT team outside West High School in Manchester, N.H. (Chris McKinnon/WBZ)

SWAT team outside West High School in Manchester, N.H. (Chris McKinnon/WBZ)

“They said to just go in the back corner where there’s no windows,” student Eric Chase said. “I was thinking, ‘Will I survive?'”

The lockdown was a precautionary measure and no threats were made, police said.

“He was not threatening to anybody,” Manchester Police Chief David Mara said. “There was no struggle.”

Johnson was charged with falsifying physical evidence, probation violation, criminal trespassing and disturbing school in session.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan praised the actions of first responders in a statement on Thursday.

“In the face of a dangerous situation, their actions ensured that our students and educators were safe from harm, and I am deeply grateful that the situation ended peacefully,” she said.

West High School in Manchester on lockdown. (Chris McKinnon/WBZ)

West High School in Manchester on lockdown. (Chris McKinnon/WBZ)

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Chris McKinnon

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