Originally created 11/29/06

6 schools lock up as suspect flees



Four Columbia County public schools and two private schools in Martinez were locked down Tuesday as authorities searched for a man who they say escaped arrest in connection with a series of car break-ins.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office asked that South Columbia Elementary School be locked down as a security precaution because the man running from police was last seen in the area of the school, Lt. Andy Shedd said at the scene.

Blue Ridge Elementary, Lakeside Middle, Lakeside High, Augusta Christian Schools and Martinez Montessori School locked down on their own, Lt. Shedd said.

Before 6 a.m., police responded to calls about a suspicious person entering automobiles in the Shenandoah Ridge Apartments on Blue Ridge Drive.

When deputies arrived, one man fled on foot and a second man was arrested.

Police refused Tuesday to release the name of the man arrested, saying it would hamper their investigation.

"It will jeopardize the case and arresting additional suspects," sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Though the man running from police had not been caught Tuesday evening, Lt. Shedd said he was spotted by several residents and jumped many backyard fences to evade police.

The suspect, who was last seen in the area of Old Petersburg Road near McCormick Drive, was described as a tall, slim black man with facial hair and wearing all black.

Reach Valerie Rowell or J. Scott Trubey at (706) 868-1222 or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.