Stratford Police have arrested four men on multiple charges in relation to the incident on Tuesday afternoon that led to the lockdown of Wooster Middle School.
The men arrested are:
- Chukwuemeke Onyerikwu, 19, of Stratford
- Oladipupo Sule, 19, of Bridgeport
- Joel Albornoz, 20, of Stratford
- Ghalib Sanni, 20, of Bridgeport
All four were charged with:
- Carrying a dangerous weapon
- Breach of peace
- Reckless endangerment/dangerous activity (town ordinance)
- Possession of an air gun (town ordinance)
- Weapon possession in a recreational area (town ordinance)
According to police, officers responded to the school at about 12:25 p.m. on Jan. 8 on report of someone behind the school with a rifle. Police located the suspects in the woods — two of them were reportedly carrying rifles — and officers ordered them to drop their weapons and get on the ground. The four men complied after several commands, police said.
Investigation determined that two of the individuals, Onyerikwu and Sule, were armed with high-power pellet rifles, police said. The rifles are reportedly designed for hunting small game.
The other two men, Albornoz and Sanni, had air soft handguns, which are designed to fire plastic pellets, police said.
"It did not appear that the four were on school property to cause any students or faculty harm," Stratford Police Lt. Frank Eannotti said. "The school that was placed in lockdown as result was cleared after officers conducted a search of the woods and adjacent grounds."
Police previously said the lockdown lasted about 20 minutes. One Wooster student who described her experience to Stratford Patch said it felt much longer.
Police said the Town of Stratford prohibits the possession of any air rifle, including BB guns and pellet guns. The ordinance also prohibits guns such as air soft, which shoot a plastic BB, especially when the item is used in an incident such as this, according to police.
All four men were held on a $5,000 bond each. They are scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Jan. 18.
Tuesday's incident comes about a month since a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown — about 20 miles away from Stratford — claimed the life of 20 students and six educators.
Communities across the state have been on high alert since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, and many towns have stepped up school safety measures, including Stratford, which implemented a new emergency notification system and established a "School Safety Committee."
One Stratford woman has also started a petition to have a police officer stationed at each school in town.
“In light of recent events it’s just more sensitive and there’s going to be zero tolerance,” Stratford Deputy Police Chief Joseph McNeil said.