UPDATE: Ocean County Authorities Explains Incident Where Shooting Victim Entered Brick Memorial High School
In response to some concerns expressed by our community, the following clarifications on the events of yesterday are being disseminated through media outlets:
Upon learning of an incident, Brick Memorial High School initiated a status of Shelter in Place, wherein students and faculty refrain from going through the halls, moving from room to room, or exiting/entering the building unless absolutely necessary.
Upon learning of a gunshot victim, Brick Memorial High School initiated a Code Red, which involves students staying inside whatever classrooms they are in at that time, the doors get locked and the lights go off.
Dismissal for the high school is 1:30. At 1:45, there are generally many students and faculty still in and around the school because of sports and after school activities. School doors remain locked during this time, and they were locked yesterday during the time of this incident. The shooting, as explained in our previous press release, did not happen on school grounds. When the victim ran back to the school he was let in by another student. The victim was alone. There were no suspects with or near the victim at the time.
During the sports and after school activities, the school doors remained locked until 3:00, and if students want to enter the school, the protocol is to respond to the front doors where they can be buzzed in by staff.
There is nothing at this time to cause us to believe that yesterday was any different than normal regarding the locking of doors and accessibility from outside the school.
In recognizing the importance of school security, over a year ago Chief Riccio instituted regular school checks in all of our township’s schools all throughout the school day, every school day of the year. Some of the details of this initiative include, but have not been limited to:
- Reallocating manpower to accommodate the school checks
Creating extra details for officers to do school checks throughout the school day. Those school checks entail a uniformed officer in a marked patrol car responding to the school to walk the halls and outer perimeter.
Assisting Brick Township Public Schools when they hired armed, retired, police officers in plain clothes to maintain a consistent presence of security in the schools.
Modifying the on-site School Resource Officers’ duties to include more active security checks on the schools.
Conduct training with school faculty regarding active shooter incidents and emergency first aid
Conduct active shooter drills with all of our officers and include the school security officers in that training.
Instituted “We Tips” and encourage students faculty and residents report suspicious behavior
Other factors to be considered in the matter of school security are that the Community Policing Division is actively involved with specialized school programs during school hours, which include D.A.R.E., Lead and Seed, Youth Prevention Coalition and Not Even Once.
These programs are educational and involve the presence of a mixture of marked patrol cars, unmarked police vehicles, uniformed officers and plain-clothes officers. We have and will continue to maintain a strong presence amidst our schools, and we believe this is the primary reason we were able to have such a quick response.
As has been explained in previous correspondences, this investigation is ongoing and several leads are being followed up on by investigative personnel. Information on the details of the shooting will be disseminated as they become available.
Details on the investigative process, such as suspect, vehicle or witness information will not be prematurely disseminated to protect the integrity of this investigation into such a serious crime.
Further, we have no reason to believe this incident is anything more than an isolated situation developed between a small group of individuals. As suspected, we now know that yesterday’s shooting was is related to Saturday’s shooting.
Our department has been proactively addressing areas and complexes which have been identified as those which are more prone to crime and quality of life issues.
Our efforts have been very effective however we also know that even the most effective practices will not totally eliminate the criminal element.
Our intention is to remain proactive and diligently investigate criminal activity that occurs within our community. To that end we will be adding personnel to our Selective Enforcement Team (SET) so that they will have the additional resources they need to expand their operation to several different areas.
Chief Riccio would like to assure our residents that we are intent on keeping our community safe, and that we will devote all available resources to addressing the issues of this incident and any others that occur. Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer is equally committed to the safety of the residents of Brick Township and all of Ocean County and is prepared to utilize all available resources to arrest and prosecute the person or persons responsible for this incident.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Riccio would like to thank all assisting law enforcement agencies for their cooperation in this investigation.