By: KDKA-TV News Staff
NORTH HUNTINGDON (KDKA) — A suspect is in custody following a lengthy standoff with police and SWAT officers in Westmoreland County on Monday morning.
According to the Norwin School District, the community threat has ended and its modified lockdown is now lifted. Superintendent Dr. Jeff Taylor says in a letter to district families that North Huntingdon Police have informed them the suspect has been taken into custody.
KDKA’s Ross Guidotti reports from the scene along Crestwood Drive in North Huntingdon Township that tactical officers began packing up and leaving just after the noon hour. A rook tactical vehicle used for standoffs was also put back into its hauling trailer.
Randolph Dillenger, 54, was arrested after state parole agents showed up at his home after new charges were filed against him.
“For weapons charges and impersonating a public servant,” said Chief Robert Rizzo of the North Huntingdon Police Department.
He was arrested after he escaped the home.
“He was able to make his way down over the hill, eventually made it to a house of people that he knew. They called us, said he was in the backyard. Our officers were able to go up there and take him into custody without incident,” Rizzo said.
North Huntingdon Police first informed the Norwin School District of the potential “community threat” around 7:45 a.m.
Dr. Taylor says the district enacted its Emergency Response Plan, which included securing students already inside Hillcrest Intermediate and Norwin Middle schools.
They also called for a two-hour delay for students in the K-4 school buildings. That two-hour delay turned into a full closure of the buildings by 9:30 a.m. as the standoff continued.
Teachers updated Google Classroom with today’s assignments for those students.
Meanwhile, the high school building was already closed due to coronavirus cases. It will reopen Tuesday following cleaning and contact tracing.
Pennsylvania State Police’s SWAT team arrived at the standoff scene shortly after 9 a.m. KDKA’s news crew witnessed police along with SWAT officers communicating with the man inside a home via a bullhorn.
Finally, around 12:25 p.m., the district says police informed them that the incident ended with the suspect being taken into custody.
Hillcrest Intermediate and Norwin Middle schools have now resumed normal operating schedules.
Dr. Taylor says in his letter to families, “I am thankful for the excellent working relationship we have with the North Huntingdon Township Police Department. The ongoing and effective communication efforts between the NHTPD and the District helped us to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff.
“Although this morning’s events may have disrupted our normal routines, please know that we believe the safety and security of our students and staff are of paramount importance. I would like to thank our Norwin students, families, and staff for your patience during this incident.”