Lockdown at Meigs Local Schools after Police Say Man Threatens Wife and Children

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - A man is facing charges after investigators say he threatened to kill his wife and children and forced a school system to go under lockdown.

Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood says Lester Aieker, of Rutland, got into a domestic dispute with his wife Wednesday afternoon.

She contacted Middleport Police and told them that her husband called and said, "Today is the day". She told police he wanted her to pick up the children from school and come home so that he could end it all for all of them.

It was also reported that Aieker said if he couldn't shoot himself, he would point a gun at law enforcement, so an officer would have to shoot him.

Sheriff Wood says officers went to the schools and put Meigs Primary/Intermediate School, Meigs Middle School, and the University of Rio Grande Branch under lockdown for a precautionary measure, until they could locate Aieker.

A sign placed on the door of one of the buildings Wednesday evening read, “By order of the sheriff, the building is closed this evening.”

Wood said deciding to lock down the district's schools was a gut instinct in order to keep faculty, students and staff safe in case Aeiker were to show up armed.

"A scary situation for all of us to see something like that happen," Wood said of the incident. "As a parent - I'm a parent - you just don't want to see those things happen anywhere."

The schools were in the process of being let out. All but one of the couple's children were located at the schools. One child did get on the bus to go home, according to a press release.

Officers found Aieker's vehicle at a home on Beech Grove road and were able to talk him into turning himself in.

They say that the child who road the bust home, along with the suspect's mother and step father, were at the residence at the time. They were unharmed.

Aieker is charged with domestic violence at this time.

Meigs County Schools Superintendent Rusty Bookman said the district installed a new security system this summer that includes video entrances at all doors and school resource officers who develop relationships with the students at those schools.

"[This] was a test of the system that you have in place and I'm sure as we reflect on this, there are going to be things that we can do better," Booman said. "We'll work on those and try and make those better."

Sheriff Wood noted that having a school resource officer there helped keep the children calm while the schools were locked down.

"Having built a rapport in the last three months with him has really kind of opened the door for them to know that we're there to help them, the kids," Wood said.

"I don't think that we are ever foolproof," Superintendent Rusty Bookman said. "Incidents like this are those things that make you reflect, come back together as a group."

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