ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- Burglary suspects running from the cops caused three Rowan County schools to go into lockdown for hours Monday.
Police say the suspects crashed a red SUV in front of North Rowan High School, then jumped and ran. Three were caught quickly, officials say; police are actively searching for the remaining two.
The incident put North Rowan High School, North Rowan Middle School and North Rowan Elementary School on lockdown, affecting about 1,500 students.
The burglary happened on Pinecroft Lane, which is behind the high school. The lockdown notice came minutes later. It was code red, meaning nobody in or out, all doors shut and locked, and students kept in locked rooms.
"We were in class," said Ladina Rushing, a senior at North Rowan High School.
"They made us go to the boy's locker room and stay there. We just stayed in there and stayed quiet," Rushing said.
"All I know is I received a text message," parent Pamela Bermudez said.
That text mentioned people possibly with guns and to get her son Justin as soon as she could.
"(I) flew there as fast as I could," she said. "I instantly started panicking because you think about everything that's happened. My son is 17, but in my mind he's just a little kid and all these kids are my kids. If you're going to hurt mine, you're going to hurt them all, and you instantly start praying and panicking."
Once Bermudez got to her son's school, the problem that caused the lockdown was right in front of her.
Police say five people broke into a home behind the school late Monday morning.
They quickly got a description of the getaway vehicle, a red SUV. Police tried to stop it, but the SUV kept going and eventually crashed into a tree yards from school property.
Five people jumped and ran. Three were caught in yards near the school, but police don't think the suspects were on school property.
"Not that worried," student Zack Tucker said, because he felt everyone was safe with the school locked down
His biggest concern was letting his parents know he was okay and just figuring out what was happening.
"They didn't tell us nothing; had to look it up on our phones."
North Rowan Middle and Elementary School did not go into code red, meaning parents could come to the school and get their kids.