ROCKLAND — The call to Rockland police came in Tuesday morning, and it could not have been more clear.

A woman from out of state had spoken with a man in town. He was hearing voices, and they were telling him to shoot up a school.

Police train for moments precisely like these. In fact, Rockland officers were slated to train later that day on local school lockdown procedures, Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher said in an interview Wednesday.

But they would never get to the training. The tip police received was real, and the man, Brandon Luzzi, 62, lived across the street from South School, where students in kindergarten through fifth grade were back for their first day of classes after a long weekend.

“A decision was made based on the facts and circumstances,” Boucher said.

COORDINATED WITH SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher contacted school officials and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office after being warned about Brandon Luzzi on Tuesday morning. In less than an hour, the schools were secured and officers were approaching Luzzi’s house. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Boucher called the schools, and RSU 13 Superintendent John McDonald ordered a lockdown on all schools in the district, including three in Rockland and schools in Thomaston, Owls Head, South Thomaston and Cushing that went into effect at 10:45 a.m.

Boucher also contacted the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and within minutes, he said, four officers from his department and at least five from the sheriff’s office scrambled to the three main school campuses in town.

“They arrived fast,” Boucher said. “We’re very fortunate. We’re both housed in the same city.”

Boucher and another officer, who were in a meeting at City Hall, rushed to the scene as well.

At least 11 officers were in place when, less than an hour after the tipster informed authorities of the threat, police approached Luzzi’s home, according to an affidavit in support of a search warrant for Luzzi’s home that was filed in Rockland District Court.

A CACHE OF WEAPONS

Rockland Officer John Bagley spoke to Luzzi in his front yard. Luzzi told him about the voices and that he had at least one hunting rifle in the house, but said “he is able to keep the voices at bay and is of no harm to anyone,” the search warrant affidavit said.

Luzzi tried to go back into his house, but police took him into protective custody. Police entered Luzzi’s home after obtaining the search warrant, finding seven firearms, a flare gun and ammunition.

Officers seized a Marlin model 60 semi-automatic rifle, an H&R 16-gauge shotgun, a Browning 0.30-06 rifle, a Savage 110CJ .270-caliber rifle, a Weatherby Mark 5 .30-06 rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a Winchester model 94 rifle and an orange flare gun. The weapons are being kept at the Rockland Police Department.

Luzzi, who is not currently charged with a crime, was transported to Pen Bay Medical Center to undergo a psychological evaluation.

About 44 minutes after it began, the lockdown was lifted, Boucher said.

“I’ve got to commend these people who got this information to allow us to intervene,” Boucher said.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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