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Article published November 6, 2013
Woman charged in school lock down case
CHICORA — A 27-year-old mother of two is in the Butler County Prison today after she was arrested Wednesday on charges she lied when she notified Chicora Elementary School officials that her ex-boyfriend was headed there with a gun to pick up their son. Ashley Rea Soose’s telephone call shortly after noon was enough for the principal to immediately place the school on lockdown, authorities said. Students and staff were shuttered inside the school on Route 68 for about an hour during which time state troopers arrived and stopped the man. However, he had no gun. Eight hours later with the police investigation wrapped up, District Judge Lewis Stoughton arraigned Soose on two counts of terroristic threats, a felony. Soose of Fairview Township also is charged with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. She remains in the Butler County Prison on $50,000 bail. According to Superintendent Eric Ritzert of the Karns City School District, the incident began about 12:15 p.m. when Soose called the elementary school saying her former boyfriend was on his way to take their child and she feared he might be armed. After principal Shane Spack hung up from the phone call with her, he put the school in lock down. Police were notified about 12:30 p.m. Troopers within minutes of arriving stopped the man and took him into custody about 1 p.m. It turned out he had no gun. About 1:30 p.m., the school returned to normal operation. “From the school’s side, we reacted appropriately based on what we were told,” Ritzert said. He added that the school district also got to use its emergency alert system for purposes other than weather-related delays and closures. About 1:20 p.m., family members of students were notified of the situation via phone call, text or e-mail through the automated alert system that’s been in place at the district for several years.