Hostage situation leads to school lockdown

February 12, 2010 2:43:07 PM PST
A family held hostage led to a school lockdown in Queens on Friday morning, officials said.The 14-year-old told his principal that he was getting ready for school and heard people burst into his home. He managed to keep his wits about him and fled and he ran several blocks to a place he knew he'd be safe. His old elementary school.

When the boy arrived at PS 176, he went straight to the principal's office.

"He ran out of the house without a coat. Ran all the way here, and he was very scared because his three brothers, his father and a family friend are in the house being held hostage," said Principal Arlene Bartlett.

Immediately Principal Bartlett and her staff called 911 and locked down the school, fearing the boy may have been followed. Soon, police flooded 237th street.

By late afternoon, the boy's house remained roped off with investigators coming and going. The NYPD calls what happened this morning 'a robbery,' and they arrested two people. Neighbors applaud the courageous 14-year-old who had the presence of mind to escape and call for help

"I have to give him credit for that," said Leroy Moss. "If a robbery took place and he was able to slip out to get help, I got to give him credit for that."

Principal Bartlett feels so gratified that the boy's first instinct was to run to the school.

"I really felt honored that someone would feel after 5 years of being away from the building, that this was a safe haven for him," she said.

The boy's family members, including his younger brother who goes to the school, were not injured, police said.

The school was locked down for about 40 minutes before officials gave the all clear.

The investigation was continuing.