Suspicious man prompts school lockdown in Mundelein area

Schools in the Mundelein area were locked down for more than an hour Thursday morning after an unknown man was seen exiting a bathroom at West Oak Middle School.

The security response began about 10 a.m. during a lockdown drill at West Oak, which is just outside Mundelein, Lake County sheriff's police spokesman Chris Covelli said.

"The individual was not recognized by school staff as having authorization to be on the grounds," Covelli said.

Police then searched the school for the man, checking every room and the outdoor campus. He wasn't located.

Other schools in the Mundelein area were placed on soft lockdown as Lake County sheriff's deputies and Mundelein police investigated, officials said.

Police notified officials with Diamond Lake Elementary District 76, which includes West Oak, about the complaint. Administrators with Mundelein High School, Mundelein Elementary District 75, Fremont Elementary District 79 and Hawthorn Elementary District 73 also were notified.

No one was allowed in or out of the buildings, officials said.

Local day care centers were notified, too.

Authorities canceled the alarm about 11:30 a.m.

Afterward, West Oak Principal Christopher Willeford met with all students and staff in the gym to talk about the situation, District 76 officials said in a news release. Social workers are available for students and staff if any support is needed, officials said in the release.

Sheriff's police are investigating and trying to identify the man.

Police described the man as about 30 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 160 pounds. He had short black hair and wore a dark green, winter jacket.

Additionally, the sheriff's office is working with District 76 officials to review security procedures and to ensure they're followed by staff and students.

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