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Neighborhood on Alert as Search Continues for Kendricks

Created: 01/15/2014 6:36 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The northwest Austin neighborhood remains on alert, where a standoff Tuesday lasted much of the day.  The suspect, Thomas Kendricks, remains on the loose.

With an elementary school nearby, officials say they took the proper precautions to ensure student and staff safety.

"I felt really good, knowing at the end of the day that we knew the students we served were safe," said Sumner elementary school principal Sheila Berger.

"Captain McKichan spoke directly with the principal on several occasions," Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger told us.

"Just to let me know that there was a situation a few block from our school," principal Sheila Berger said.

By the time the standoff began, the school-day was already underway.

"He reassured me that he felt that we were very safe at that time," said principal Sheila Berger. “Per our district security standards we keep all of our doors locked at all times anyway. After he left we made the decision to keep kids inside for recess. We just went about the rest of our day, business as usual."

Two blocks away, the police standoff was approaching the six hour mark, and the end of the school day was drawing near.

"And then as it became closer to dismissal time he once again communicated that the issue had not been resolved," principal Sheila Berger told us.  “So we had some extra adults out front and we escorted any student who needed to walk home in that direction, they walked with another adult."

“That's why we brought in reserves to make sure that everyone got home safely," added police chief Brian Krueger.

“We were able to contact the parents where houses were involved to make sure other arrangements so they didn't walk home," Sheila Berger told us.

And when principal Sheila Berger and district administrators sat down to review their actions at the end of the day: “We went through ‘did we follow our procedures’, we worked together with parents and families, so at this point initially it looks like everything went as planned."