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Suspect in custody following Chariton incident that led to school lockout

Officers placed schools in a lockout Wednesday.
Credit: Lucas County Sheriff's Office
Jeffry Hildreth

CHARITON, Iowa — Chariton police are sharing new information after a tense Wednesday in the community. 

Officers shared what they're learning in their investigation on Facebook Thursday.

Officers said Jeffry Hildreth intentionally damaged his gas line with a screwdriver, causing a large amount of natural gas to be released. 

Police said a window on Hildreth's home shattered and the employee who was attempting to fix the gas leak was unsure if he had been shot at or not.  

Hildreth has been arrested and charged with the following: 

Three counts of assault on a peace officer, one count of assault on a paramedic, three counts of 1st-degree harassment, one count of 2nd-degree harassment, and one count of interference with official acts. 

Hildreth became aggressive in the jail and had to be restrained while resisting CPD and LCSO. Hildreth was again cleared at LCHC and additional charges may be filed. 

They said due to an unconfirmed report of a possible gunshot, Chariton officers wanted Van Allen Elementary in a lockdown. 

Police said eventually, Van Allen shifted into a "lockout" response, to ensure students wouldn't be able to go into the affected area.

Officers said the resident exited the house and pointed what appeared to be a rifle at officers that had surrounded the area.

Police said that Hildreth was, "heavily under the influence of methamphetamine" during the incident. 

Local 5 has learned the Iowa State Patrol assisted with authorities in Chariton on the incident. 

Police said Van Allen Elementary will have mental health professionals on-site to support any student or staff.