SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV) -- An intruder ran through a middle school in Searcy leading police officers on a chase, all while students are in class.
It didn't start at the school. It started during a traffic stop just a couple of blocks away. An officer recognized the suspect and tried to handcuff him-that's when the suspect fled and ran through Southwest Middle School. All of this happened just before 3 p.m. as parents waited in line to pick up their kids.
"It was like 'This was not real,' I was like 'This is not happening right now,'" said Beth Qualls still shook up after an alarming Thursday afternoon. "I pulled up into the back, and I noticed there was a police officer by the dumpster."
She had a front row seat as officers chased a suspect through her fifth grade daughter's school.
"Next thing I know, I look up, and the suspect had run out of these glass doors, and a policeman ran out chasing the suspect."
That suspect, ran through Southwest Middle School in Searcy trying to get away from a cop. Thankfully no one was hurt. According to Searcy police, an officer noticed Michael Williams during a traffic stop. Williams had warrants out for his arrest, and when officers tried to arrest him, he ran.
"He tried to enter through the cafeteria; he was immediately confronted by a custodian and ran out the other door by a custodian that was emptying the trash."
Searcy school superintendent Diane Barrett said Williams did not have any direct contact with students, and he only spent a few moments inside the middle school, but it's a few moments she said her staff had trained for.
"We've gone over to them about being alert and confronting anyone that did not have a pass, check through the office or look suspicious, so I'm very proud of our personnel for doing that and confronting him," she said.
While Police said the school and the students were never the target, only the place where Williams ran to, it still has parents like Qualls on edge.
"It doesn't matter why. What matters is that he came in and my child was in there," Qualls explained.
Barrett said school officials reacted quickly as soon as they found out about the chase in their area. They called their resource officer, but they never put the school on lockdown. Barrett also said before they went on lockdown, they got word authorities caught Williams.
Police wanted Williams on warrants for a fake license plate, fleeing and driving on a suspended license, but after Thursday he now faces charges with trespassing on school grounds and fleeing.