Nahzer Sabree, 21, of Philadelphia, is facing a number of weapons charges and drug offenses in relation to the incident on Friday morning.
Darby Borough Police Chief Robert Smythe called this a major security breach.
It all began around 9 a.m. Friday at the Park Lane Elementary School. According to police, Sabree was seen outside acting strangely and shirtless in 37 degree weather.
Even so, he was buzzed into the school.
"Who was thinking with their brains here? Obviously nobody. I'll be honest with you, I think they're brainless," said Smythe.
Sabree, a man with a lengthy criminal record, was rummaging through bags on the ground outside the school. He was later let in to talk to Principal Dawn Watson-Bouie about a bag he supposedly misplaced.
"Why would you let the guy in when he was acting strangely to begin with? I mean, who is standing around outside shirtless at 9 a.m. picking up bags?" said Chief Smythe.
The principal assured Sabree that she would look into the bag and escorted him outside.
But despite the fact that the school, like all Delco schools, has a panic button that alerts police agencies, investigators say the button was never pushed and police were not notified until three hours later when Sabree returned angrily demanding his missing bag.
It turns out he was carrying narcotics and a stolen .40 caliber handgun that he tried to pull on arresting officers.
Police say the principal failed to follow procedure and may have put the lives of the school children at risk.
"There are 150-200 kids in that school that were in harm's way, maybe for a short amount of time, but in today's world, what could happen?" said Chief Smythe.
Some borough officials are outraged with what happened and want someone held accountable.
Council President Darlene Hill said, "This is a tragedy waiting to happen and, by the grace of God with the quick thinking of our police department, it's not another Columbine."
In regards to the incident, the Penn Wood School issued the following statement:
"It was questioned as to why Dr. Watson-Bouie did not push the panic button which alerts all local police agencies that there is an armed intruder in the building.
It was not utilized as Dr. Watson Bouie had no evidence that there was an armed intruder.
The young man has been arrested by the Darby Police Department and there were no injuries to our students, staff, or the young man.
We are eternally grateful that Dr. Watson-Bouie handled the situation in a professional and appropriate fashion, and escorted the young man outside of the building and away from our students and staff.
We are grateful to the responding police officers for their safe handling and apprehension of the young man.
School district administration will continue to investigate this incident, gathering additional information and statements and planning for possible additional safeguards and procedures for admittance into school buildings."
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