An armed robbery at a liquor store six blocks to the east prompted officials to lock down Jasper schools for a little less than two hours on Tuesday.
The Jasper County Sheriff's office said they received a call at 12:31 p.m. Tuesday that two males had robbed Judy's Liquor Store, 403 N. 4th St. in Jasper, both wearing masks and possibly armed.
The two males, both 18-20 years old, one wearing a mask, black long sleeve shirt, black pants and possibly armed with a handgun, and the other wearing a mask, grey sweatshirt and blue jeans, were seen running from the store to the west, then to the north. The two fled with an unknown amount of money.
Sheriff's officials said they don't know if they had a vehicle or how they got away.
Jasper School Superintendent Rick Stark said he got the call from the Jasper Police Department after 12:30 p.m. that the store had been robbed and two suspects were seen fleeing in the direction of the school, about six blocks away.
Stark said teachers and staff rounded up children who were playing outside and had everyone go to classrooms in the buildings while he patrolled the grounds making sure no one was hiding in some nook or corner around the buildings.
He said custodians were stationed in different parts of the buildings while teachers and staff made sure all the buildings were locked and secured.
“The staff did well for not expecting anything and as spontaneous as it was,” Stark said. “I couldn't ask for a lockdown to go any better.”
Stark said staffers answered phone calls from a couple of reporters confirming that the district was on lockdown.
He was busy patrolling the campus perimeter until he saw that more police, Sheriff's Deputies and Highway Patrol troopers started appearing around the campus.
“I've already had a couple of parents call me asking why I didn't notify them of the trouble,” Stark said. “We have 470 kids and we can't call everyone personally. We do have the ability to send out voice messages, email and text messages through our PowerSchool system. After I saw that there were police on the streets, I came in and composed a message and sent it out to everyone on our system.”
The Sheriff's Office said anyone with information is asked to contact the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch 359-9100 or call the Tips line to leave information at 781-TIPS.
A single robber struck at the Southwest Missouri Bank in Jasper on July 26, several days before school opened. Stark said the staff that was on hand secured the school in that instance as well.
No arrests have been made in the bank robbery.
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