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‘Suspicious adult’ with fake guns arrested Wednesday morning at Memorial High School

March 1, 2018 GMT

Madison police arrested a man described as a “suspicious adult” Wednesday at Memorial High School, after finding him in a vehicle with “two fake guns, and some other odd belongings” in the parking lot, Principal Jay Affeldt said in an email.

Christian J. Amerzcua, 21, was arrested on two outstanding Dane County warrants for disorderly conduct, said Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

Some Memorial High School students saw Amerzcua acting strangely inside a van parked in the school’s parking lot at about 10 a.m., DeSpain said. The students contacted staff members and the school’s educational resource officer and another officer made contact with Amerzcua, who had two fake guns.

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Amerzcua did not threaten any students or the school, and it was not immediately known why he was on school grounds, DeSpain said.

Affeldt, in an email to the school community Wednesday afternoon, said a group of Memorial students arriving at the school first spotted the vehicle, parked near the shot put and discus area of the lot, and “immediately notified staff” at the school entrance.

“This individual was acting odd,” Affeldt said, noting the school’s educational resource officer, Tray Turner, and another Madison police officer confronted the man “within minutes” and took him into custody.

A subsequent search of the man’s belongings produced the two fake guns and other items that Affeldt described as “odd,” without further explanation.

But after an investigation, Affeldt said, “Police have no reason to believe this person had any intention to harm anyone at school, and we do not believe he was ever closer than a couple hundred feet from the school.”

Affeldt also praised the students for how they handled the incident, saying it served as a model for everyone at the West side school at 201 S. Gammon Road.

“The incident reinforces for all of us the critical importance of sharing information around anything odd or unusual, so we can take immediate action,” Affeldt said.