• Southbridge HS teacher charged for allegedly bringing live ammo to school

    By: Manoella Macedo , Julie Leonardi

    Updated:

    SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass. - A Southbridge High School teacher was charged on Thursday after bringing live ammunition to the school, which prompted a school-wide lockdown.

    According to police, Alfred J. Purcell III, 57, of Woodstock, Connecticut, brought live ammunition to school grounds, allegedly telling authorities he did it to "prove to the school they needed to get metal detectors."

    In a release, police say Purcell notified school staff that he had just found one live round of 9mm ammunition in the school's rear stairwell. As a result, the school was placed on lockdown while police and school officials investigated the ammunition.

    Upon reviewing surveillance footage, officials said Purcell was seen placing the live ammunition on the staircase, leaving the area only to return, take a photo of the ammunition with his phone and later report it to other staff members, prompting the lockdown.

    Purcell then went back to his classroom and stayed with his students during the lockdown, which lasted for about an hour.

    He was arrested on scene and taken to the Southbridge Police headquarters, where he told officers he did it to prove the school needed metal detectors. While at the police station, officers said they detected a faint odor of alcohol in his breath, but Purcell denied consuming any alcohol. 

    Police say they believe the disturbing situation stemmed from an incident on Tuesday when shell casings were found underneath the stairwell. Those were brought inside the school by a student who admitted to finding them on a nearby firing range. 

    A subsequent search of Purcell's car found 102 live rounds of .20 gauge shotgun ammunition inside the trunk. Officers later confirmed Purcell's Connecticut license to carry had expired. 

    Purcell was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of ammunition, two counts of carrying ammunition on school grounds, disturbing a school assembly, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. 

    He is being held pending his arraignment in Dudley District Court later on Thursday.

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