Contact Us

University of Montana and Missoula Public School Lockdowns Went According to Plan Due to Suspect at Large

Hellgate High School
photo from Facebook

Two armed robberies in the downtown area early Thursday, February 6, and a suspect still at large, led to lockdowns at both the University of Montana and several public schools administrated by Missoula School District One.

UM Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr said that once the first robbery was reported, a text message was sent out to all students and personnel to stay on campus and away from the footbridge leading from East Broadway onto the UM campus.

“We decided to have people. as we say, shelter in place,” Kuhr said. “Then, within a half-hour we initiated a formal lockdown, which allowed us to either automatically lock a number of buildings, or to go around to other buildings and lock them by hand.”

Kuhr said once the students were locked in, they quickly adapted to the situation.

“It lasted for about a couple of hours, so people were pretty much in place wherever they were,” Kuhr said. “I’ve talked to some students who were playing charades, while others were working on homework, and we also had a number of students right here in Main Hall.”

The lockdown at the University of Montana was called off at 1:10 p.m.

Missoula County Public Schools Director of Communications Hatton Littman said Hellgate High School was the first building to be affected by the law enforcement situation.

“We received the information from the Missoula Police Department about a robbery that happened at the Motel 6,” Littman said. “At that time, we were advised to place Hellgate High School on ‘lock-in’ status. That means that we have our perimeter doors locked and we have staff members stationed at those doors, but it’s still business as usual.”

Littman said the district then received word of further criminal activity.

“We then received word that the Taco Bell restaurant near the Motel 6 had also been robbed, and the suspect was at large within the community, so we made the decision to put other schools in that vicinity on lock-in status,” Littman said. “That included Seninel High School, our business and administration buildings, as well as Washington Middle School, Paxson Elementary, Lewis and Clark, Willard Alternative School, Rattlesnake Elementary, and eventually Lowell Elementary School, also.”

Littman said MCPS has an emergency contact system to inform parents of actions taken to protect students at the public schools.

“We actually have an emergency contact system,” Littman said. “Parents were notified by the schools via that system. When we use the system, it both emails and calls the parents to give them the information. We released the ‘lock-in’ status at all the schools at about 1 p.m.”

Littman said she thought the entire situation was handled well by all school staff who kept the students calm, and continued with the normal school day.

Missoula County Public Schools Director of Communications Hatton Littman

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Best of KLYQ

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KLYQ Club VIP quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KLYQ Club VIP contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.