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In Glen Helen, search winding down, no one found

Update at 5:15 p.m.: About 20 officers from various jurisdictions and agencies were involved in today’s search in Glen Helen and surrounding areas for a suspicious man who appeared to be carrying a gun. According to Greene County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant James Combs late this afternoon, the search is now over. The officers have covered a large area and not found the man, who they believe has left the Glen area.

Beginning at about noon, officers from Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Yellow Springs Police, Cedarville Police, the Greene County Parks Department and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources responded to a call from Glen Helen that a suspicious man believed to be carrying a gun was in the Glen. The first priority was making sure the children in Eco Camps were safe, Combs said. After that, the officers fanned out, with one police dog, through the Glen, John Bryan Park and the Birch Boy Scout Camp area.

“We pulled out all the stops,” Combs said. “We treat these things seriously.”

The officers were looking for a white man about 6 ft. tall who was dressed in hunters’ camouflage. When the man was confronted by a camp counselor a little after 11 a.m. and asked to leave, he pulled up his shirt and revealed what appeared to be a gun. When told that the police would be called, he ran away.

The sheriff officers do not plan to continue the search tomorrow, although they will keep an eye on Glen Helen, Combs said. Glen Helen Eco Camp will resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., as usual. The usual end-of-camp parent program will take place at 2 p.m. Parents whose children do not wish to return to camp may pick up their children’s belongings between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. 

The Antioch College campus lockdown has been lifted, according to Tom Brookey and all offices will resume with normal hours tomorrow. 

Shortly before noon today, the Greene County Sheriff’s office recommended that the Boy Scout camping trip at Camp Bryan also go into lockdown, according to Jim Nolan, executive director. The campers were assembled in the dining hall when leaders received the message. The camp remained under lockdown until about 3:45 p.m., when authorities cleared the campers to return to their regular activities.

Update at 4:15 p.m.: According to Police Chief Anthony Pettiford, the Greene County Sheriff officers who were looking for an alleged armed man in the Glen are winding down their search, and have not found anyone.

A report that a man had been taken into custody is inaccurate, according to Pettiford, who spoke to the sheriff’s department at around 4 p.m.
Officers are standing by the Outdoor Education Center where parents are picking up their children for the night, Pettiford said, but the Eco Camps will reopen tomorrow.

Update at 3:19 p.m.: According to the Greene County Sheriff at 3 p.m., there was no new information to report about the supposed gunman seen in the Glen earlier today.
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Update as of 1:56 p.m.: Law enforcement authorities recommended this afternoon that families of Eco Campers and YS Kids Playhouse youth retrieve their children from Glen Helen and Antioch College as soon as they are able. The recommendation is a safety precaution to reassure parents of the safety of their children, according to Glen Helen Director Nick Boutis. The Glen will accommodate campers as long as parents need them to stay at the Glen, including overnight, if necessary, he said.

As of 2 p.m. police and Greene County Sheriff’s officers were using K-9 units to search the preserve for the suspect, seen earlier by a naturalist, who thought he might have a gun. Firearms are not allowed in the Glen, according to Boutis.

“This is not because of a danger, but because of risk aversion and reasonable precaution,” Boutis said this afternoon. “We’re encouraging parents as soon as it is convenient to come here and sign their kids out. For parents who are working and those who aren’t able to come in the near future, we are entirely set up to care for the kids that are here.”

Original post 1 p.m.: Just before 11:30 this morning a man dressed in camouflage with what may be a firearm was seen walking in the Glen. According to Glen Helen Ecology Institute Director Nick Boutis, when a Glen naturalist approached the man, he lifted up his shirt to expose what the naturalist perceived to be a gun. The suspect then fled, Boutis said.

Taking all necessary precautions, Glen personnel immediately contacted the Yellow Springs Police and Greene County Sheriff, who by 12:15 had secured the nearly 60 Eco Camp youth into a safe area of the Glen. According to Boutis, the authorities are currently working to locate the suspect and assess the safety of the preserve.

“The likelihood that anybody is in danger is pretty small, but this is the sort of thing where we absolutely want to be sure we are doing everything to make sure that we don’t place the kids or the staff that are here in harm’s way,” Boutis said. “Everyone is in a protected situation now.”

While Glen Helen and Antioch College are temporarily closed to the public, Eco Camp will continue until further notice from law enforcement authorities.

The News will post further updates on the situation as they become available throughout the day.

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