Atwater school lockdown lifted; suspect in custody

02/05/2014 8:44 AM

02/05/2014 9:07 AM

A man threatening to harm his wife and then himself led police to surround his house and lock down a nearby elementary school Wednesday morning. The lockdown has been lifted, authorities said.

According to Atwater Police Lt. Samuel Joseph, the incident started when Pedro Lopez 44, held a gun to his wife’s head at their home in the 3300 block of Nautical Court. Lopez, whom police believe was under the influence of methamphetamine, threatened his wife. Several small children were in the room.

The woman managed to escape with the children while Lopez went to the restroom. She called police at 6:16 a.m.

Officers responded and surrounded the home, which is across the street from Peggy Heller School. Authorities locked down the school. Parents reported getting an automated call telling them not to bring their children to school, or if they had already dropped them off, to come and get them.

Officers negotiated with Lopez, but after about an hour he stopped responding. They entered the home. He refused to cooperate. Officers had to restrain him but no weapons were used, Joseph said.

Lopez was taken into custody and booked into Merced County Jail on charges including assault with a deadly weapon and making threats. Officers found two firearms in the home.

We will continue to update this story as information develops.

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