LYLE — The lockdown of the Lyle Public School on Tuesday came as a result of caution rather than any imminent threat, Mower County Sheriff Steven Sandvik said.
"There were no threats to community or the school in particular," Sandvik said. "It's just an abundance of caution when something like this occurs."
Sandvik said the incident, which included the Lyle Police Department, Mower County Sheriff's Office and the Mower County Special Incident Response Team, and Austin Police Department, began with a tip that an individual with three warrants was in a residence in the 400 block of Second Street. That tip call came in around 12:28 p.m., Tuesday.
The subject, Dana Alan Plotts, 40, of Lyle, has three outstanding warrants, Sandvik said. All three are warrants for non-violent offenses stemming from a failure to pay child support and related court offenses.
Sandvik said that when the call came in, the Lyle Police Department reached out to the Mower County Sheriff's Office for assistance. A perimeter was set up around the residence, and several attempts to make contact with someone inside the home were made. After getting no response from inside the home, a warrant to enter the residence was obtained.
Because nearly every address within Lyle city limits is within six blocks of the school, Sandvik said, the large police presence triggered a "soft lockdown" at the school and delayed dismissal time.
The school posted on its Facebook page about the incident around 1:10 p.m., and then again about an hour later, noting that all students and staff had been dismissed.
After the search warrant was obtained, deputies and the Lyle Police Chief entered the home, Sandvik said. Because there were firearms in view, the SIRT unit was called to aid in the search of the home as a precaution.
"He was not located in the house," Sandvik said, referring to Plotts. "When there's a multi-level residence and firearms are on the premises, we use all caution for the safety of the subject and citizens."
Sandvik said the last deputy left the home at 6:54 p.m.
While police had not been actively seeking Plotts, Sandvik said, the tip was acted upon. Sandvik said Plotts – or anyone with active warrants – should turn themselves into law enforcement and get their warrants cleared before a judge as soon as possible.