Shelter-in-place order continues as Maine city searches for at least 4 suspects in vehicle shooting

SACO, Maine (AP) — A shelter-in-place order remained in effect Friday evening for downtown Saco, Maine, as police searched for at least four suspects following an exchange of gunfire between the occupants of two vehicles, one of which then careened through an intersection and crashed into a bus carrying school children.

Schools across the city were briefly locked down after the incident began just before noon. None of the children aboard the bus were hurt, city spokesperson Emily Roy said.

As police searched, they cleared areas where possible sightings of the suspects had been reported. Local and regional police agencies, tactical units, police dogs and drones were all involved in the search, authorities said.

A police spokesperson described the investigation as “an ongoing, fluid situation.” Police said they were searching for four people who ran from one of the cars involved in the crash, and that one of the people appeared to have been shot. They said they recovered a firearm from one of the crashed vehicles.

The incident began with reports of gunshots being exchanged between people in two vehicles, said city spokesperson Andrew Dickinson. The vehicles then moved toward the busy intersection where the crash with the school bus occurred, Dickinson said. A red Dodge Charger took off while the suspects from a second vehicle, an SUV, got out and ran.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Portland, Maine, confirmed it was on scene helping the Saco Police Department — part of a large police presence in downtown Saco.

Thornton Academy, a school located near downtown, said in a Friday afternoon statement that it had entered “full lockdown” and that “students remain safe” while police monitored the situation. Students were later released.

“Students who drove to school have been dismissed,” the school said in a statement. “We working a plan to release walkers and those who are picked up by parents.”

The incident comes three months after many Maine residents sheltered in place during a police manhunt for a gunman who killed 18 people at a bowling alley and a bar. The shooter’s body was found at a recycling facility two days after the attacks.

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Perry reported from Meredith, New Hampshire.

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