Local Schools in Lockdown Last Week During Police Search

A 20-minute lockdown at Pinkerton Academy went smoothly, according to the administration.
The semi-private high school, which serves Auburn, Chester, Derry and Hampstead, went into lockdown mode at about 8:55 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, after reports that Thomas George, a Salem man who allegedly attacked his mother, was visiting friends in Derry.
“Mr. George fled Salem after the attack, and police had reason to believe he was visiting a friend’s house in Derry,” Chip Underhill, a spokesperson for the school, said. After 20 minutes and a search by police, the school was cleared to reopen, Underhill said.

“We are so pleased with the way the students and teachers responded,” Underhill added. “They locked their doors, drew the shades and were quiet.” Ironically, he said, the school was scheduled to have a lockdown drill last week.
The official statement on the school’s Web site read, “Pinkerton briefly announced a lockdown of campus Thursday morning after a report that a young man in Salem had allegedly harmed a parent and was possibly fleeing to Derry. As a precaution, Pinkerton executed a lockdown of all buildings. After 20 minutes, the school was cleared to resume normal activity. We are extremely proud of our teachers and students for their execution of the lockdown procedure. Safety of our students is the first priority at Pinkerton.”
The Derry Cooperative School District’s Kindergarten-Grade 8 schools were also placed in lockdown and released a short time later.
Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas said the lockdowns at the Derry schools went well. “We notified the School District that a person who was ‘armed and dangerous’ was in Derry,” he said. “They placed the schools in ‘lockdown mode.’ They were able to go about their business, but were locked inside.”
Thomas said his department received “a lot of positive response” from parents. “They said they were glad we and the school district took the initiative to keep them safe,” he said.
Thomas added, “Our goal was to have them as secure and safe as they could be.”
Pinkerton Academy went into lockdown on its own initiative, Thomas said.
Thomas George, 18, was taken into custody by Salem police and arraigned Thursday in Salem Circuit Court. He is facing two charges of first-degree assault, and cash bail was set at $250,000.
George is alleged to have attacked his mother, Catherine George, with a knife and hammer in an argument over his use of prescription drugs. He is alleged to have stabbed his mother in the neck with a knife, and hit her in the head with a hammer. The elder George called 9-1-1, after which her son fled and was believed to be in Derry. She was airlifted to a Boston hospital.
Thomas George was on probation and under treatment for psychological issues.
As previously reported in the Nutfield News, Catherine George, a former resident of Derry, surrendered her nursing license this past year after admitting that she gave a lethal dose of insulin to her brother-in-law, Randall Percival of Raymond, who had cancer. She was a nurse at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. She received a plea deal and a sentence of 30 days in jail, which was suspended on condition of good behavior.