Man who sparked N.H. school lockdown with pellet gun wanted reference

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 26, 2014 4:29 PM

By Ted Siefer

MANCHESTER N.H. (Reuters) - A New Hampshire man who sparked a lockdown at a Manchester high school after he walked in with a pellet gun tucked into his belt had been trying to secure a letter of recommendation from a former teacher, according to court papers filed on Friday.

Heavily armed police surrounded Manchester High School West on Thursday and the roughly 1,000 students at the school went into lockdown in their classrooms after Damian Johnson, 21, was spotted by a student with what appeared to be a handgun.

Johnson had entered with a current student and approached a former teacher to ask if she could write him a letter of recommendation, according to court papers.

When he realized the school had gone into lockdown, he asked the teacher not to call police and tried to hide the BB gun, which police described as resembling a semi-automatic pistol, and a knife in a friend's backpack.

Johnson, who had prior assault robbery convictions on his record, told the teacher that he did not want to go back to jail, according to court papers.

There was no indication that he threatened anyone with the pellet gun.

Johnson was charged on Friday with one felony count of falsifying physical evidence and misdemeanor counts of trespassing and causing a disturbance at a school. He was ordered held on $20,000 bail pending his probable cause hearing next month.

(Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by Sandra Maler)