BURLINGTON, Ont. - An elementary school in Burlington, Ont., was closed Tuesday after a bizarre incident in which a man was running through its halls with a shotgun several hours before classes were to begin.
Halton District School Board spokeswoman Odette Bartnicki said a security firm was alerted when an alarm in Brant Hills Public School went off at about 2 a.m.
"We normally have custodians on duty until 11 o'clock, then we have an alarm system with some cameras," Bartnicki said.
Halton region police arrived and surrounded the school, then arrested a suspect after a brief foot chase when he left the building.
Staff Sgt. Robert Lloyd said the suspect "threw an object over a fence while being chased" and officers later recovered a loaded shotgun.
Bartnicki told CP24 there was some damage inside the school.
"A little bit of broken glass, a laptop that was removed from a desk was on the floor - nothing major," she said.
"Staff will be asked to look around for anything that is missing or out of place. However, we don't feel that there's anything missing since the suspect was apprehended and there doesn't appear to have been anybody else involved - he didn't get very far."
At the Ontario legislature, Premier Dalton McGuinty noted that while crime rates are down, the bizarre incident is worrisome.
"The statistics tell the story that we continue to experience a reduction in crime, especially violent crime," said McGuinty.
But that's little consolation, he added, "if you're the mom or dad of a seven year old at that school where they just picked up some guy with a shotgun."
Justin Stroud, 21, of Waterdown, Ont., faces a eight charges, including careless use of a firearm, break and enter and possession of stolen property. Police say more charges may be laid.
Stroud was held for a bail hearing scheduled for later in the day in Milton. Ont.
Brant Hills is a kindergarten to Grade 8 school with more than 350 students.