West Monroe police arrested two armed men Tuesday at West Monroe High School.
The school was locked down around 10:30 a.m. in response to a possible active shooter situation. The two suspects were not students at the high school.
“Based on the investigation, these is no evidence that these men intended on harming anyone,” said West Monroe police Sgt. C.J. Beck. “At no point were the firearms displayed in a threatening manner other than being on a closed campus.”
The suspects were identified as Matthew “Matt” W. Hutson, 57, of West Monroe, and Theodore Christopher Herr, 36. Hutson had a firearm visible and in a holster. He was carrying a clipboard and stated that he was with a Fugitive Task Force and was looking for someone. Herr was carrying a concealed firearm. Both men were taken into custody without incident.
West Monroe Police Chief Jeff Terrell confirmed that Hutson and Herr claimed they were trying to serve a warrant to a fugitive, though authorities had not yet confirmed that account.
“That’s what they initially stated to us,” Terrell said. “They were where they weren’t supposed to be.”
A police officer was walking through the high school when a principal alerted him to two armed, white males inside Wing 3 at the high school.
“Hutson later stated he was on school property because his girlfriend’s granddaughter was selling or possessing drugs,” stated the Sept. 10 arrest report. “He stated he was doing a walk-through to see what she looked like.”
During questioning, Herr said he accompanied Hutson because of “intel on an unknown individual possibly being on school property.”
“He stated he believed he was helping Hutson with ‘fugitive recovery,’ ” stated the Sept. 10 arrest report. “He stated he thought the unknown individual had a warrant and he was just ‘tagging’ along with Hutson. He stated he knew he could not have a firearm on school property and was being stupid.”
The West Monroe Police Department, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, Metro Narcotics and Monroe Police Department all responded to the incident.
“Protocol for the high school requires a visit to each classroom with a police officer and administrator to determine everyone inside was safe,” Terrell said. “There are 2,200 students at the high school. So we had officers from all over the parish. That’s why it took so long to clear the lockdown. We were sure the campus was safe. We saw them drive up and saw that it was only those two men, and nobody else.”
Hutson and Herr were charged with carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon by a student or non-student on school property, unlawful disruption of operation of a public school, and criminal trespass.