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Aromas school locked down during 18-hour standoff

Posted: Friday, Nov 9th, 2012

AROMAS — An Aromas woman was arrested Friday morning after allegedly barricading herself inside her residence with several firearms during an 18-hour standoff, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department said.

Jacqueline Burse-Woodard, 50, was booked into Monterey County Jail and charged with making terrorist threats and assault with a deadly weapon. She was being held Friday in lieu of $65,000 bail.

According to the MCSO, deputies were dispatched at 12:30 p.m. to Bardue Street in Aromas for a domestic dispute.

When they arrived, they learned that Burse-Woodard had weapons inside, and that she had said she would use them if anyone tried to come inside.

The woman’s husband was removed from the scene, and deputies established a perimeter, which included evacuating several nearby homes and locking down Aromas School, the MCSO said.

Deputies attempted to negotiate with Burse-Woodard for more than 1 hour without success.

At 2 p.m., the Monterey County SWAT Team and members of the Monterey County Behavioral Health department arrived and were assisted by California Highway Patrol, American Medical Response and Cal Fire.

As the SWAT Team surrounded the house, the behavioral specialists continued to communicate with Burse-Woodard.

The emergency workers were relieved at 1 a.m. by members of SWAT and by health workers from the Salinas Police Department. Monterey County Behavioral Health also maintained personnel on scene.

Burse-Woodard voluntarily gave up at approximately 7 a.m., deputies said.

Investigators found three rifles and one small-caliber handgun during a search of the residence. There was no indication that alcohol or drugs played a part in this incident, deputies said.

Nearby Aromas School was locked down for four hours, with students confined to their classrooms behind locked doors, principal Kyle Griffith said.

The lockdown call came at 12:45 p.m., when many students were on the playground. Because they frequently practice lockdown drills, however, the transition into the classrooms with doors locked and shades drawn went smoothly, principal Kyle Griffith said.

“Within 60 seconds the whole school was a ghost town,” he said.

The students were eventually sent home.

When the standoff went on well into the next morning, Griffith made the call to keep the school closed Friday.

Griffith praised the school’s teachers, who he said kept the students calm in a stressful situation.

“I’m very proud of the way the teachers led the students the students the whole time,” he said. “And the students did great we’re really proud of them.”

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