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Police: Construction worker at Decatur High led police on chase that locked down two schools

Crime and public safety Decatur slideshow

Police: Construction worker at Decatur High led police on chase that locked down two schools

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur Police accuse a man working on the crew renovating Decatur High school of stealing construction materials and leading police on a chase that locked down Renfroe Middle and Oakhurst Elementary schools Friday morning.

Police arrested Nygel Smith and charged him with obstructing a police officer and said he has felony warrants for additional charges that are pending.

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According to Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross, officers confronted Smith at the Decatur High construction site at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“Smith is the suspect in an incident that occurred on September 13, 2017 where construction materials were stolen from the Decatur High School construction site overnight,” Ross said. “Upon seeing investigators, Smith fled south across West Howard Avenue, armed with a hammer.”

Nygel Smith. Photo provided by Decatur Police

He allegedly ran across the railroad tracks and West College Avenue toward Renfroe Middle, prompting the first of two school lock downs at Renfroe Middle.

“Smith ran behind Renfroe Middle School and across the rear of the school’s property toward the area of Ansley Street and Kings Highway,” Ross said. “Investigators lost sight of Smith but located a discarded orange shirt and the hammer at the rear of the school property.”

Police called in a K9 unit and lifted the lock down once they believed Smith had fled the area. But they quickly reinstated it and instituted a lock down for Oakhurst Elementary as well once he was spotted again.

“Once officers spotted Smith still in the area, Renfroe Middle School was locked down a second time and Oakhurst Elementary School was locked down due to the proximity of the schools and officers having no way to know what direction Smith may attempt to flee,” Ross said.

An officer found Smith wedged between two privacy fences at the 300 block of Adams Street. He was taken into custody without further incident.

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