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Pupils freed early from Erie school near shooting

| Friday, May 10, 2013, 11:36 a.m.

ERIE — Students were released early from an elementary school in northwestern Pennsylvania after a teacher's aide was shot outside and ran into the building to take refuge.

Erie police have not identified the woman or the man they suspect shot her Friday about 10:20 a.m. near McKinley Elementary School in Erie. The man surrendered and was being questioned at the police station after learning investigators were looking for him.

The school was locked down, as were others on the city's east side. But Deputy Chief Randy Bowers told the Erie Times-News that students never were in danger. A county 911 dispatcher confirmed that the lockdowns were precautionary only.

The school decided to release all students early at 1 p.m. after about 70 parents who heard about the shooting came to the school to pick up their children.

“I was panicking,” parent Leetoya Muldrew told the newspaper.

Her son, Kristian Muldrew, 8, was crying as he left school and said he heard five shots from outside the building while he was in his classroom. The boy looked out a window and saw the victim on the ground before she got up and started running into the school, looking over her shoulder as she did so.

The boy told the newspaper he recognized the woman as an aide who helps out during the lunch hour.

The victim was treated by paramedics in the school's office before being taken to UPMC Hamot hospital, where her condition wasn't immediately available.

An adult witness who heard the shots told police he saw a Cadillac driving backward down the street. Police later found a car matching that description and learned the name of the suspect who voluntarily went to the police station.

Police haven't described a possible motive for the shooting or said whether the suspect will be charged.

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