On Thursday, May 16th, just after 8 AM a teacher at Southbridge High School reported to staff that he had just found one live round of 9mm ammunition in the rear stairwell of the building. As a result, the school was placed on lockdown.
After reviewing video surveillance during the lockdown, police determined that the teacher who reported the ammunition, Alfred Purcell III was responsible for placing it there. He was seen standing in the stairwell and removing the live round of ammunition from his pocket and dropping it on the floor. Police say Purcell returned and stood over the live round of ammunition about 10 minutes later and took a picture of it with his cell phone. and then appeared to take a picture of it with his cellular telephone.
Southbridge Police arrested Purcell at the school and transported him to police headquarters where he admitted to intentionally dropping the round of ammunition in the stairwell, saying he wanted to “prove to the school that they needed to get metal detectors.” Police also said they could detect “the faint odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath,” but Purcell denied consuming any alcoholic beverages.
After searching Purcell’s vehicle, 102 live rounds of .20 gauge shotgun ammunition were recovered in the trunk. It was later confirmed that his license to carry a firearm had expired.
The teacher, 57-year-old Alfred Purcell of Woodstock, CT was charged with 2 counts of the unlawful possession of ammunition, 2 counts of carrying ammunition on school grounds, disturbing a school assembly, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. He will be held pending his arraignment in Dudley District Court later today.
The lockdown was lifted after about an hour.