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Teacher Allegedly Planted Ammo At Southbridge High School

SOUTHBRIDGE (CBS) – Police arrested a Southbridge teacher on Thursday who they said dropped a live round of ammunition inside the high school, and then claimed he did it to show the need for metal detectors in the building.

Southbridge police said Alfred J. Purcell III, a 57-year-old from Woodstock, Connecticut, reported finding a live round of 9mm ammunition in a stairwell. The school resource officer and the administration decided to immediately put the school on lockdown.

While the building was locked down, authorities reviewed video camera footage from the stairwell. Police said the video seen above showed Purcell dropping the ammo on the floor and leaving, before returning 10 minutes later. They said he appeared to take a picture of it with his phone, and then used a school-issued radio to report it.

Alfred J. Purcell III
Alfred J. Purcell III (WBZ-TV)

Officers arrested Purcell at the school and brought him to police headquarters, where they said he admitted to intentionally placing the round in the stairwell. He said he did it to "prove to the school that they needed to get metal detectors," according to police.

"If you think that we need metal detectors in this community, if you think there's any other safety issues at our schools you should go through the appropriate channels," Police Chief Shane Woodson said.

The school was on lockdown earlier this week for an unrelated incident.

"A juvenile had claimed that he was walking on a former firing range that we have in our community and he found these spent rounds of ammunition," Woodson said.

Officers say the Purcell didn't think that situation was dealt with appropriately.

Purcell's defense attorney said that there was a misunderstanding and that Purcell did not plant the round in the stairwell.

WATCH: School Surveillance Video

Police also reported detecting the "faint odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath," but Purcell denied that he had been drinking.

A search of Purcell's vehicle uncovered 102 live rounds of .20 gauge shot gun ammunition in the trunk. Police said his license to carry had expired in Connecticut.

southbridge ammo teacher
Ammo recovered by police (Photo credit: Southbridge police)

"It is nerve-wracking with all the stuff going around," said parent Brenda Torres. "My daughter is OK, she's calm, but they need to do more investigations on these teachers, they need to make sure that our kids are OK with all the stuff that's going on in this world, it's just scary.

Purcell is being charged with unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying ammunition on school grounds, disturbing a school assembly, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. He was arraigned in Dudley District Court on Thursday afternoon and held on $500 bail.

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