Mother praises Worthing school response after gunman reported nearby

A mother has praised her daughter's school in Worthing for its calm response when a man with a gun was reported in the area.

Heene Primary School. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Heene Primary School. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Heene Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic School kept children and staff inside while police searched the area yesterday (Thursday, April 4), after police received reports of a man with a firearm near Victoria Park and Norfolk Street at around 2.15pm.

The mother of a Heene Primary School pupil told the Herald: “It was just a normal day of going to get the kids from school.

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“I was a bit surprised the school gates weren’t open, how they usually are and I saw parents gathering.

“Police were on the scene and they said it was for the children’s safety and in their best interests that they stay in the school until further notice.”

Police had not told parents why the children were being kept inside, she said.

“They didn’t want to panic people,” she said.

Parents waited outside for around 25 minutes until police gave the schools the ok and parents were let inside to collect their children.

“My daughter came out fine and happy, telling me what she’d been doing at school,” she said.

“It just shows how well the school had done, given the situation.

“They kept everybody calm.

“The school responded really well and did the best they could.

“In the end, we all went home safe.

“Obviously its not nice and its a bit worrying that one individual was behaving like that, especially near schools.

“But Worthing is a nice place to live.”

Police have made an arrest after receiving a further report from another member of the public that a man had shown her a gun in his bag in Stoke Abbott Road at about 9.10pm yesterday, a police spokesperson said.

Officers went to the scene and the man was arrested nearby, according to the spokesperson.

Detective Constable Sebastian Day said: “Officers believe the man arrested is the same one who had been reported in Victoria Park earlier in the afternoon.

“We can reassure the parents and pupils of local schools, and the wider public in general, that the item seized from the suspect is described as a plastic imitation gun.”

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