Lockdown at Ridgefield Schools Lifted [UPDATE]

Police respond to report of a suspicious man with an unknown item sighted at the Branchville train station.

Update [11:27 a.m.]

The lockdown at Ridgefield schools—spurred on by reports of a suspicious man at a nearby train station—has been lifted, police told Patch.

Update [10:10 a.m.]

Ridgefield schools remain on lockdown, and police are continuing their search for a suspicious man sighted at the Branchville train station, but authorities have not yet uncovered any threats.

Original story [9:33 a.m.]

Reports of a suspicious person at the Branchville train station in Ridgefield Monday morning brought out police and placed all local schools on lockdown.

Authorities, along with a K-9 unit, are canvassing the area after receiving a report of a man with an unknown item slung over his back.

Police were first informed of the suspicious person at about 9 a.m.

The incident comes three days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which a single gunman equipped with three firearms killed 20 children, six adults, and then himself, in Newtown.

For full coverage of the Sandy Hook tragedy, click here.

Kevin Zawacki (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
10:34 a.m. -- schools remain on lockdown and the search continues, but police just notified me that no threats have been uncovered.
Gem December 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
My sister works in the CT school system up in New Mildew & just texted me at 9:25 that schools in lockdown b/c of a man with a gun in Ridgefield school.... now reading here its only a 'suspicious' person w/ something flung over shoulder - ???? What is everyone just going bonkers or what???
DS December 17, 2012 at 03:49 PM
thanks for keeping us updated. do we know if any other towns are taking precautions ?
Matt Garoffolo December 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Paul Ramsey: Do u want to wait for that to happen or catch him before it happens??
Lisa Buchman (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Neighboring school district Katonah Lewisboro went into "lockout" mode because of the suspicious individual as well. Officials are taking extra precautions in the wake of Newtown's shooting.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Superintendent Deborah Low sent out a message to district families at 11:15 a.m. saying police have given the all clear: "After an extensive police search, no dangerous activity was discovered. Branchville students are now taking buses back to Branchville Elementary. Schools are no longer on a modified lockdown, As planned for today, a police presence remains at each school."
Robin Burke December 17, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I grew up in Ridgefield (live in Northern VA now) and was telling my husband that I used to live only 20 miles from Newtown, so imagine my shock when I heard that Ridgefield schools were on lock down. I am glad everything is ok....for now anyway.
Paul Ramsey December 17, 2012 at 05:25 PM
That's not the point Matt. My point is: a pencil can be a weapon in the right hands, hunters use rifles, shotguns etc. NOT weapons.
Valerie Juleson, MSW December 17, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I'm wondering if the schools need to each have a dog...maybe even more then one school dog - You might see if the town could get the "retired" army trained dogs. The individuals who are deranged would think twice about entering a school with a trained protection dog wandering the halls- and I know it will make the families and children feel and be safer. Many of the protection trained dogs love children and would have taken out any threat to those children. These dogs are currently being used for low anxiety producing protection in subways-airports etc. Yes it would cause some need to do a work-around for alergic children but in this case that work around would be worth it. Valerie Juleson
Slmnrc December 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM
One of the issues with trying to reason with people like you is that you are unreasonable and/or don't know what your talking about - you say what you think is right verse the facts and reality : a firearm is a weapon -- look it up in the dictionary.
MJ December 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Paul: I certainly understand and respect the right to possess fire arms. I also, understand that many objects can be used with deadly force, but please understand the opposite view. Fire arms, specifically automatic weapons can cause mass damage in a short period of time as we have seen most recently in Sandy Hook. We are seeing an increase in these incidents and all of them have one thing in common, fire arms. I believe the right to possess fire arms should stay true. However, it does make sense to review the process in which it is currently done. Including semi-automatic arms as well as a longer review process to ensure individuals with mental health issues have a more difficult time in obtaining them. Thank you
sebastian dangerfield December 17, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I think the only point you have is at the top of your neck. Why not give it a rest. Guns ownership trumps all. Paul...are you planning on asking to speak on 2nd amenment rights at any of the first graders funerals? Or are you going to limit your crap to blogs?
Jason Silver December 17, 2012 at 10:09 PM
An armed guard or police officer on duty at all schools would work.
Paul Ramsey December 17, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Slmnrc, People like me? Veterans? Blacks? Responsible gun owners? Jews? Muslims? You don't know ANY people like me or you would not have made the comment you made?
COSMO P December 18, 2012 at 03:11 AM
No machine guns were used and you use the term assault weapon incorrectly. Now stop it it makes you look silly. Class 3 weapons were not used and people should know the difference before posting. Do the research. Machine guns are NFA CLASS 3
Slmnrc December 18, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Paul, wow, nobody is talking about you as an indiviual, people like you means people with your position on weapons - all that other stuff you made up about differnt people i'm not sure where you got that from. and btw its based on your comment above. i have been around and met many people dont be so quick to judge that your the most diverse person in the neighborhood so quick. i may know people like you and i may not. Did you look up the word firearm in the dictionary ?
Slmnrc December 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Sebastian : well said !....
Slmnrc December 19, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Valerie, Thats a great worthwhile sugguestion - could it really work ?
Paul Ramsey December 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM
My sincere apologies to all users of this forum. I mistook this as a public site where one could voice an opinion and maybe have some meaningful dialogue about an issue, but apparently, with a few exceptions (thank you, you know who you are) it is a place where only those who are in agreement with the majority are welcome. If one is in agreement with the majority, OK, if not, stand by to be slandered, insulted and defamed by those who truly have no experience in the subject. If that's all that the majority is capable of, no-one really cares much about what you have to say anyway.
Paul Ramsey December 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM
As would be apparent to any rational thinking person, laws and prohibitions have no bearing on the actions of people that perpetrate crimes. Case(s) in point: It is against the law to drive drunk, sure THAT NEVER happens There is a law against running a red traffic light, and yet it still happens. It is against the law to fail to file a tax return and yet it still happens and in many cases by those who can most afford to PAY THEIR TAXES and ironically by those who administer the system. And I'm pretty sure that most people are aware that in civilized countries, MURDER is against the law, and yet it still happens! Just like the lock on your front door that WILL NOT prevent a burglar from entering your home if he really wants YOUR STUFF, it will only slow him down. If he REALLY wants YOUR STUFF he will get in one way or another. Remember what prohibition did in the '20/'30s to the liquor business and what it did FOR organized crime (If your answer is no you should read this as - (Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.)
Paul Ramsey December 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Laws are in place to give society the ability to punish people for taking inappropriate actions and doing harm to others. The law itself only prevents good people from doing bad things. Therefore, it stands to reason that when the government bans the private citizen from owning firearms, most law abiding citizen will probably give up their firearms, those that don't will automatically become criminals and be arrested, but the group described above will just hide them until they want to use them to perpetrate their crime. If you don't agree, so be it. If you don't believe it, so be it. Just defer to the parenthetical above regarding history. Now that you have ignored me for a few minutes, my original post was going to be concern for the knee jerk reaction by some to report a "suspicious man" with an umbrella, not a weapon or a 2nd amendment right stand at all. It is just as inappropriate to use this time of morning as a pro 2nd amendment podium as it is to use it as an anti gun podium! Let the families grieve the loss of their angles, without politicizing it. Imagine that. Carrying an umbrella shutdown schools and "called out the guard". An understandable reaction under the circumstances, and yet an irrational one.
Paul Ramsey December 19, 2012 at 11:48 PM
As for those who say 'don't speak of that which you know not' without knowing me: After growing up in a family that hunted, a father who was an NRA instructor and WWII veteran, and 21+ years in the military myself, I have forgotten more about firearms (AND other weapons) and there capabilities, than most of you will ever learn in your brief life time Remember, what's in the movies and on TV is not always true, nor is always fiction! Oh, and 1 last thing, when someone starts a sentence with "the trouble with people like you..." or "people like you are...." you are generalizing to the point at which you prove your own ignorance, bias and bigotry, and automatically alienate everyone.
Paul Ramsey December 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If I had more room I could have done it all in one box, but some things just take more words!
Slmnrc December 28, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Paul : your statements are ....well just incorrect. This is not opinion but based on the dictionary as reference. You still have your opinion which we respect. You do shed light on something very interesting to me , how someone with your vast miltary background still doesnt know what a firearm is by dictionary definition. By dictionary definition: a firearm is a weapon. (not what you say above) By dictionary definition : A generalization is a foundational element of logic and human reasoning (not what you say above) Perhaps as a miltary person you can see the point more clearly put this way: Words are powerful tools, they have meaning and should be used correctly otherwise there is risk that some people will misinterpert what is meant to be communicated... this would be like using the wrong wepon to accomplish the task. Part (though small) of the problem in this country is that its hard to communicate with one another when the same word has differnt meaning to differnt people.
Slmnrc December 29, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Paul, yes words... words are powerful.... but you should know how to use them and what they really mean. i guess its one of the reasons people debate over the approach of dipolmacy vs war. but according to the dictionary you state...... "It's NOT a WEAPON until it's used against other HUMANS. Until then it's a firearm!" thats incorrect, per the dictionary " A firearm is a weapon that launches ....." so a firearm is a weapon ! you state...." you are generalizing to the point at which you prove your own ignorance:... the dictionary says a generalization is a foundational element of logic and human reasoning ....... so it seems reasonable there is a place in dicussions to generalize words are tools that should be used properly ! On your family gun history / association - that doesnt make my or your opinion on guns any more or less valid - they are both individual people providing and opinion on an issue.
Paul Ramsey December 30, 2012 at 09:51 PM
A dictionary definition is useless unless you can apply it to the real world. I can't argue with your points however, using our logic, yours Slmnrc, and mine, a firearm and a hammer are both tools in the right hands and when used appropriately are just that, TOOLS. But when used for other purposes, both can be weapons! William Spengler killed his Grandmother with a hammer. Maybe hammers should be restricted to professionals as well! We can generalize that all apples come from trees, but to generalize that all trees produce apples is just plain ignorant.
Slmnrc January 01, 2013 at 04:30 AM
i dont think we agree and thats fine .... To answer your question on whether hammers should be restricted to professionals here's where the real world comes in ...... IMO if many thousands of people each year were getting killed by hammers i would say yes they need to be restricted. to me thats a big differnce..... on firearms, tools, ....To me its a simple plain fact, there is no addtional "real world" interpertation, clear, direct, simply put a firearm is a weapon. to twist that to mean a all weapons are firearms is wrong.... nor did i say that, nor would that be a generalization - thats a differnt statement . On a firearm being a tool, well i guess it can be : a tool being an anything to accompish a task or purpose , yes a hammer is a tool and yes a hammer can be a weapon.......
Paul Ramsey January 05, 2013 at 03:51 AM
...IMO if many thousands of people each year were getting killed by hammers... I can only deal in facts and life experience. When you state "many thousands" where does that number come from? Are you aware of this: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/assault-weapon-deaths-statistics/2013/01/03/id/469982 You are probably right, we will most likely never agree, but at least you are being reasonable, unlike some.
Eric January 05, 2013 at 05:20 AM
Why not a cop on every corner? Who needs a free country anyway, a police state is so much safer. Republicans have shown their willingness to sacrifice every other right we have to fight drugs, illegal immigration, terrorism, you name it. I'll never understand why they think gun rights are important, but not the rest of hte Bill of Rights.
Paul Ramsey January 09, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Eric, You're right, the first 10 ammendments are the most important of them all, and the first is what allows us to have these discussions openly, however, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the proverbial grease. The first is also half invalidated by the Supreme Court and Congress, thanks to the athiests and other anti-religion groups. Re. "...Republicans have shown their willingness..." It takes Congress, the Supreme Court AND the President to make a law and keep a law. But they all have to agree, so it can't be blamed on JUST the REPUBLICAN PARTY. Why? The President has veto power, Congress can pass bills to over turn Executive Orders, and the Supreme Court can over turn BOTH. As good/bad as the system seems to be ... ... Not enough room for a Civics Lesson here though.


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