UPDATED: Nearby barricade situation prompts New Town schools into lockdown

NEW TOWN, N.D. – An armed man wanted on drugs charges has barricaded himself inside a New Town home, causing neighboring homes to be evacuated and heightened security at nearby schools.

FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said the FBI is working with state and local law enforcement to peacefully resolve the situation involving a man wanted by law enforcement in Colorado on narcotics charges, Loven said.

The situation is fluid, but Loven said he believes the man is alone in the residence.

New Town Police Chief Art Walgren said the man is heavily armed, believed to have at least one high-powered rifle.

Officers received a report early this morning after the man broke into a residence, Walgren said.

The Minot SWAT team is among the agencies responding. The limited conversation officers have had with the man have been confrontational, Walgren said. Attempts to get him to surrender, including three rounds of tear gas, have been unsuccessful, Walgren said.

The man has indicated that his brother died last recently in a police shoot-out in Colorado and he wants to go out the same way and take officers with him, Walgren said.

Homes in the area have been evacuated, Walgren said.

Loven declined to release the man’s name and said he had no information about a standoff in Colorado.

New Town Public Schools Superintendent Marc Bluestone said he heard from law enforcement shortly after 5 a.m. today that a community incident was in progress.

He decided to put the schools under lockdown and not run buses on Sixth through Ninth streets. Bluestone said that area of town is blocked off by law enforcement and he believes the incident is on Ninth Street, about three blocks north of the high school.

Students are allowed to pass between classes, but they’re only allowed to leave the building if a parent picks them up, Bluestone said. He will decide later this afternoon whether to call off after-school activities.

About 30 parents picked up their children out of concern for their safety, Bluestone said.

“Their level of awareness and concern is higher just because of what happened in Newtown, Conn.,” Bluestone said.

But school officials are keeping in contact with law enforcement and believe the threat level is low, Bluestone said.

“I believe my son is a lot safer here at school than he is at home,” Bluestone said.

New Town Public Schools called off classes Nov. 19 after three students and their grandmother died in a shooting at a New Town home. The suspected gunman in that shooting, Kalcie Eagle, later killed himself.

Loven said that investigation is ongoing and the FBI plans to release a synopsis of its investigation after it’s complete.

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