Brief lockdown of Arlee schools ends safely
ARLEE — Arlee schools shut down briefly Monday morning while 37-year-old Arlee resident Peter Woken threatened suicide three blocks from the school.
According to a press release, Lake County Dispatch received a call regarding a suicidal male with a gun in a private residence on McMurtrie Street around 10:06 a.m.
“The Arlee school was placed into lockdown status as a precautionary measure only; the incident did not involve the school in any other way,” the press release said.
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies, Tribal Law and Order, the Montana Highway Patrol, Arlee Ambulance and Arlee Volunteer Fire responded to the scene.
According to Lake County Undersheriff Daniel Yonkin, Woken surrendered to officers at the scene without incident and was taken into protective custody about 20 minutes after the initial 911 call was made. Yonkin was unsure if Woken was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Arlee High School principal and athletic director Jim Taylor said the lockdown was brief and “just a precaution that the law enforcement put on us ... they just wanted us to be safe and go to lockdown.”
Taylor said the incident did not take place on school property, and everyone within the school is fine.
Arlee schools sent out an email and phone message to parents explaining the situation and assuring them the lockdown was just a precaution, while law enforcement controlled the area and arrested Woken.
Yonkin explained that while the incident was a full three blocks from the school, officers felt the precautionary lockdown was justified.
“(The school) was about three blocks away,” Yonkin said. “It’s across the highway, but if someone goes mobile and decides to run toward the school, the last thing we want to do is make it easy on them.”