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Students at Perry Hall schools released after being held for hours after death of Baltimore County officer

Just over 1,900 students in Perry Hall area schools were stuck in their schools, unable to leave as Baltimore County police searched for the suspects in the killing of a police officer Monday afternoon.

Police are looking for multiple suspects who officials say killed a four-year veteran of the Baltimore County police force. A witness saw the officer, whose name has not been released, get run over by a vehicle. Police have not said whether the officer was shot.

Police are searching a densely populated area for the suspects.

Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan, speaking during a news conference at about 6:20 p.m., said the schools were put on lockdown for the safety of children.

Baltimore County Public Schools announced in an early-morning tweet that all county schools would open on time Tuesday, with more police than usual present at schools.

Parents of students at Seven Oaks, Gunpowder and Perry Hall were able to pick up their children, Baltimore County Public Schools tweeted at 7:35 p.m. Monday, about three hours after the normal dismissal times. For safety reasons, students had to be picked up by a parent; buses were not taking students home.

“Administration will oversee dismissal. Please be patient. Only a few parents will be allowed in the school at one time. Will be additional police presence,” according to the school system.

At about 9:45 p.m., all students had been released.

Carney Elementary school students were transported home on school buses and parents were picking them up, after being held for more than an hour after the normal release time.

Perry Hall Elementary posted on Facebook Monday afternoon that “all students are safe and in their classrooms.” Parents commented on the post with questions about how late their children would be stuck at school, whether they had snacks and when they would get more information.

The Baltimore County Public Safety Twitter account posted that school officials are “providing meals for children.”

Rebecca Chisholm and her husband were glued to social media and the evening news as they waited for an update on when they can pick up two of their children from Perry Hall Elementary School.

“We’ve just been trolling Facebook and watching the news reports non-stop,” said Chisholm, a teacher at Middle River Middle School.

At 6:15 p.m., she still didn’t have any idea when her third-grade son or fifth-grade daughter would be coming home. A teacher sent an email assuring her that the kids were fed dinner and watching movies in the gym.

“It’s difficult. I know that they’re OK, but it’s hard that you can’t be with them and explain what’s happening in your own way,” Chisholm said. “I appreciate anything those teachers are doing right now. I can’t imagine explaining to the kids why they can’t be with mommy and daddy.”

Kathleen Connors-Juras, 41, said information from her 10-year-old son’s school has been pretty consistent — coming in the form of emails, text messages and Facebook posts. But she’s anxious not knowing when she’ll get to pick up her fourth-grader from Gunpowder Elementary.

“I don’t know if he’s aware of what’s going on or what details he’s gathering. I’m worried for him. I thought by now we’d be reunited,” she said at 7 p.m. “I hope it’s not dark by the time we see our children. We can have a nice, big hug and I can figure out how to explain all of this to him.”

Patrick Piper, the father of a 7-year-old girl at Seven Oaks Elementary, said he had been texting with his daughter's teacher, who said the children were safe and watching movies.

"But they're not stupid," he said of the children. "They know what the [expletive] is going on."

LeCandres Kizzie said outside Seven Oaks that her 9-year-old son would "definitely be scared. He picks up on a lot of things."

After the alert status was announced, she said she waited in the school parking lot for five hours to take her son home. Kizzie said that while driving through her Perry Hall neighborhood earlier that day, police stopped her and checked her car and trunk.

"There's nothing but kids in this area," Kizzie said. "For something to happen like this here, it's tragic."

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporters Libby Solomon and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lizbowie

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