by Rob Malcolm

NEWMAN (CBS13) — A 24-year-old Newman man is facing serious charges after trying to enter an elementary school with a knife and threatening maintenance staff.

Newman Police responded to Hurd Barrington Elementary School around 9 a.m. Tuesday after getting reports of a stranger on campus. They say Theodore Lopez tried to enter the school from the front parking area but found the front gates were locked. He was then confronted by maintenance staff who he reportedly threatened to kill with the knife.

The school immediately went into lockdown and parents like Martin Oliveros were trying to get information.

“I was thinking what going on? Do I need to head down there and help my daughter or kids? Or what’s going on where are the police at?” Oliveros said.

He said the information was flowing slowly.

“I was just like, ‘Okay, what’s happening? Talk to me, somebody,” Oliveros said.

Olivero’s daughter Rae attends the school in fourth grade.

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“On the speaker, all they said was like ‘We’re on a lockdown.’ And the teachers said ‘cover up everything,’” she said.

Another third-grade student, Kadence Hutchins, recalled being in the library.

“They were closing the blinds and a guy had to come and lock the door,” Hutchins said.

Police found Lopez at the corner of Eucalyptus and Banff Drive. After refusing commands, he was taken into custody with the use of a taser and K9.

The frightening incident has some parents concerned on how the information was shared.

“Everybody that I have heard from they all found out from Facebook as well, so social media is what everybody turned to,” parent Michelle Hutchins said.

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Newman Police had details of the incident on their Facebook page while a letter from the school said in part the school was on lockdown because of police activity. Hutchins says she would have liked to have had more details.

“The school never tells us in detail, just throw us a little message that’s just real brief I think just that they don’t worry us,“ Hutchins said. “I wasn’t worried until after I read Facebook.”

Lopez was booked into the Stanislaus County jail facing charges of resisting arrest, possession of a deadly weapon on school property and threatening with intent to terrorize. Police say he has no affiliation with the school and are still trying to figure out why he was trying to get onto the campus.

Parents are breathing a sigh of relief that the police responded and made the arrest so quickly.

“Small town like this we don’t want bad things happening especially to kids,” said Martin Oliveros.


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