Area law enforcement is looking for a man whose threat to harm himself this morning forced the closing of Platteville Public Schools and a soft lockdown for Belmont schools.
Police said the man is believed to be traveling on foot between Platteville and Belmont. He is described as white, 27 years old, 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, with short brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a green puffy jacket and tan T-shirt.
Police do not know if the man is armed, but “there is no indication” the man “was intending to harm others,” police said.
Lafayette County deputies and staff from the state Department of Justice are looking for the man, police said.
Police received a call around 5 a.m. about a person with a rifle who had “left in a vehicle and was indicating that he was going to harm himself.” The man was in communication with a family member and at one point police.
The man’s vehicle was found unoccupied on East Madison Street near Mound View Park, police said. The man told police where the rifle was in Mound View Park, and the Grant County Crisis Resolution Team recovered the rifle from a wooded area in the park, police said.
Platteville schools were placed on a two-hour delay around 6:10 a.m., then were closed before 8 a.m.
“Since we had very little information, I made the decision to call a two-hour delay in hopes that there would be a resolution to the situation soon,” said PPS superintendent Connie Valenza in an email to parents. “When the hour was approaching 8 a.m., after consulting with Chief [Doug] McKinley of the Platteville Police, we made a joint decision that we did not have enough information to ensure student safety on the way to school and in school.”
Valenza’s email said a decision on after-school activities would be made later today.
Anyone who sees someone who looks like tne man is asked to call police, 348-2313.