Vern Riffe School lockdown lifted; suspect in custody


By Darian Gillette - [email protected]



PORTSMOUTH — A local school was placed on lockdown after US Marshal’s attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Mabert Road.

According to the Portsmouth Police Department, The Vern Riffe School went into a precautionary lockdown due to a police incident that occurred near the school Tuesday.

At approximately 8:55 a.m. the school was placed on lockdown while US Marshals arrived at a home located at 1335 Mabert Road to attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Carl Dickerson for a burglary indictment.

Once US Marshals were on the scene and attempted to arrest the suspect, Dickerson barricaded himself in the house. US Marshals called for assistance from the Portsmouth Police Department SWAT Team.

According to a release from the Vern Riffe School, the situation occurring nearing the school was discovered by Lead Teacher, Dana Jones who saw local law enforcement and emergency crews with the Portsmouth Fire Department were involved in the incident.

At 8:46 a.m. Jones reported the situation to Superintendent Matthew Purcell, who immediately got in touch with law enforcement for more details. The officer advised the school to shelter in place until the matter was resolved.

“Staff did a wonderful job cooperating with the order and quickly communicating what was happening to those staff still in route to the school for the start of the school/workday,” said Purcell.

An alternate location for students already on the parking lot was identified to safely unload the students away from the Mabert Road side of the building. An emergency one call and text message was also sent out to notify families and staff of the situation so that they would not attempt to enter or exit the building.

The SWAT team arrived and made entry into the house, where after a brief struggle Dickerson was taken into custody.

The Vern Riffe School lifted its lockdown at 9:24 a.m., according to the Portsmouth Police Department.

“I want to thank all staff for their prompt actions to ensure the safety of the students and themselves. I also want to thank local law enforcement, the Portsmouth Fire Department, and the US Marshall for their communication and guidance during this situation,” said Purcell.

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By Darian Gillette

[email protected]

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved