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Man Charged In Manchester High School Lockdown Heading To Court

Ryan Lessard

A 21-year-old New Hampshire man charged in connection with a lockdown at his former high school in Manchester is heading to court.

Damian Johnson of Manchester will be arraigned Friday on a felony count of falsifying physical evidence and misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass, violation of probation and disrupting school in session.

Police say Manchester High School West was on lockdown for 90 minutes Thursday, after a student reported seeing Johnson with a gun tucked into his waistband. He was found in a small, occupied classroom and was arrested without incident.

Manchester Police Chief David Mara said at no time did Johnson make a threat or act violently. He said Thursday police were still trying to determine why he entered the school.

Johnson remained in custody overnight.

Thursday's coverage:

Update: 1:30p.m.- The man arrested has been identified as Damian Johnson. In addition to the misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing, disturbing school in session and probation violation, he was also charged with falsifying physical evidence, which is a felony.

2:20p.m.- Johnson's priors include simple assault, stalking and unarmed robbery between 2011-12.

Credit Courtesy of MPD
Damian Johson, 21-year-old former Manchester student.


Police in Manchester say a suspect is in custody about an hour and twenty minutes after they got a report that a 21-year-old former high school student was seen entering West High School with a handgun tucked in his waistband. The school was in lockdown from 8am to 9:40am.

Chief David Mara says the former student was carrying a pellet gun which looked like a real handgun along with a knife. 

“We were glad that it wasn’t a real gun, however, this just illustrates that training is important, that we have to continue to safeguard the safety of our children and I just want to ensure the public that that’s what we did.”

Mara says no shots were fired and no threats were made, but the student will be charged with criminal trespass.

Numerous police cars surrounded the school after a student reported seeing the former student to a School Resource Officer. The investigation is ongoing.

Before becoming a reporter for NHPR, Ryan devoted many months interning with The Exchange team, helping to produce their daily talk show. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester with a major in Politics and Society and a minor in Communication Arts. While in school, he also interned for a DC-based think tank. His interests include science fiction and international relations. Ryan is a life-long Manchester resident.
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