Man found crawling on the ground with drugs and a gun, forces local elementary school into lockdown


WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — An elementary school in Winchester, Virginia was put on lockdown Tuesday morning after Winchester police responded to a shots fired call which was reported down the street from the school.

Now, a Frederick County man is facing multiple drug and firearm charges after he was found drunk, crawling on the ground on South Braddock Street near Quarles Elementary School.

36-year-old Donald Cox is facing charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of a firearm while in possession of drugs, and public intoxication.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the Winchester Police Department received two reports of a man crawling on the ground with an unknown object in his hand. Amanda Behan, Deputy Chief of the Winchester Police Department, told WDVM it was very fortunate that no one was hurt.

“This was someone who was under the influence of at least one if not two drugs which he was found in possession of,” Deputy Chief Behan explained. “It is believed that there were some hallucinations occurring and which led to this unfortunate incident but fortunate enough that no one was injured or hurt.”

A school bus driver picking up students in the area later identified the object as a gun. As officers were responding to the incident, they were made aware of a report of shots fired which caused nearby Quarles Elementary School on South Loudoun Street to go into lockdown until Cox was arrested and was no longer a threat to the public.

Michael Denton, a resident of South Braddock Street, was getting his son ready for school and had stepped out of his home to smoke a cigarette, something he does every morning. His son attends Quarles Elementary School and Denton recalls multiple school buses taking their normal routes down South Braddock Street.

Denton told WDVM that he saw Cox near the side of his building. Denton explained Cox tried to talk to him multiple times and when Denton walked towards Cox to see what he wanted, Cox told Denton to back up. Denton says he followed Cox, who was stumbling and crawling, and when Denton rounded the corner of his building, he saw that Cox had a gun in his hand. Denton then ran back towards his home and watched Cox make his way across the street and then fire his gun. Denton says the shot was aimed at him.

“He [Denton’s son] was late that day. We take him to school, thank God. It scares me cause if I wouldn’t have gone out to smoke my cigarette like a normal morning, what if I didn’t?” Denton said. “Who else would he have run into? What if my wife was getting in the car for the kids… He was right around the corner. What if he shot at them?”

Winchester Police did confirm that Cox fired two shots from his gun with one striking a nearby parked car, but no one was hurt in the incident. Cox is currently being held without bond.

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