A student, whose identity is not being released, is said to have been the cause behind a massive police and emergency services response at Parkland High School Friday evening.
A student, sweating profusely, wearing a military-type flack jacket approached the flag pole, saluted, said a prayer and ran away, said South Whitehall Police Chief Thomas Toth. A Parkland teacher saw this and called 911 to report suspicious activity. Officers responded to the scene and started a preliminary investigation. The student was not located but the description was enough to to activate the emergency response teams (ERT).
Three ERT teams and more than half a dozen police departments from across Lehigh County, Pennsylvania State Police, local fire departments, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to the school.
Once on scene, the school was searched by police. Officers also worked via phone to further the investigation to identify the "suspicious person." Eventually, he was contacted and was already off the school district's property.
It turns out, officials said, the man had been working out, left the school building, stopped to salute the flag and take a moment of silence then left the property.
As dozens of officers and other emergency personnel descended on the scene a volleyball game was in progress, swimmers were in the pool and a field hockey game was going on at the school's fields, Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak said. All students were safety evacuated. Students who were evacuated were taken to the Troxell building and their parents could pick them up from there, school officials said. The high school itself was locked down for hours.
Parkland High School sits on Cedar Crest Boulevard north of Huckleberry Road in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.
Cedar Crest Boulevard was closed from Walbert Avenue to Willow Street during the incident, Lehigh County Communications officials said.