Suttons Bay High School Officials Handle Man In School Threatening Harm With Box Knife

Suttons Bay High School’s principal was able to get a knife away from a man inside the school, who was threatening to use it as a weapon.

Thursday afternoon they buzzed the man into the school as a visitor, but became concerned when he refused to check-in at the office.

Later they discovered he had a box knife.

The first set of doors to get inside the school are unlocked and to get any further you have to get buzzed in, then check in at the office, but this instance didn’t go as planned.

Suttons Bay Public Schools’ interim superintendent Michael Carmean says once the secretary buzzed the man in the man refused to come into the office. “She felt that something was just out of place.”

When the man continued to refuse to come into the office the secretary got the principal and called 911 while the administrative assistant enforced a lockdown on all Suttons Bay Public Schools.

The principal got the man into the gym. From there the principal and the athletic director tried to assess the situation.

“The principal calmly talked to him, found out, discussed why he was there and calmly said if you had a weapon if he could please produce it, the suspect did and he said please put it on the floor and he did.”

Then deputies arrived. No one was hurt; a positive outcome everyone is proud of.

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich says this situation is a testament of why they put so much effort into training with schools and businesses. “You’re dealing with a subject who’s mentally unstable, he has a box cutter in his hand, he says he’s going to stab and kill people and it’s a real testimony to their good work.”

When Greg Mork was volunteering at the high school when the lockdown happened and picked up his grandson from the Montessori which was also put on lockdown. He says this incident makes him more confident in this district when it comes to safety. “They train, train, train when the time come and it does happen like the incident in Suttons Bay there, it’s good to know that they’re trained to do it.”

While it was a scary experience, the district believes they can learn from it.

Interim superintendent Carmean says they plan to meet about the incident Monday, “We’re going to talk through the whole process here and discuss if there are any changes, I think there probably could be a couple and look for how can we do things even better next time.”

The sheriff says the man has a history of mental health problems and was taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

Deputies are working on a report to send to the prosecutor.

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