Man who pointed gun at officer takes 11 students hostage before surrendering

A State Trooper guards the the Stockton Springs Elementary School in Stockton Springs, Maine. Police say a gunman, Randall Hofland, 55, walked inside a classroom and held 11 pupils hostage before giving himself up. State and local police responded and the Hofland was taken into custody. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The Associated Press

STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — A 55-year-old gunman who had been on the lam for a week held 11 fifth-graders hostage at an elementary school Friday but was taken into custody without any harm to the children, police said.

Randall Hofland, 55, of Searsport, was tackled outside a fifth-grade classroom by a state trooper, who was among the first police officers at the scene, authorities said.

Hofland had released all the students and had given his handgun to one of them before he was arrested and taken to the Waldo County Jail in Belfast, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The students were removed from the school.

The incident unfolded around the start of the day at Stockton Springs Elementary School when Hofland walked into the classroom. State police were called at 8:42 a.m. and Hofland was arrested about 20 minutes later.

Hofland was the object of a manhunt that began on the night of Oct. 23 after he allegedly pointed a gun at a local police officer who stopped him during a seat belt safety check in neighboring Searsport. Hofland drove off, eventually abandoning his car in a field.

A two-mile stretch of U.S. 1 was closed to traffic for a time during the search, which involved more than three dozen police officers, including the state police tactical team.

Schools in School Administrative District 56, including Stockton Springs Elementary School, were closed the day after Hofland fled out of concern for students' safety.

The school in the small coastal town 1

Associated Press
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