Man taken into custody after stranger reported on Virginia Beach elementary school campus

Posted at 9:13 AM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 17:27:23-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Police are investigating after an intruder was reported at Thalia Elementary School.

Police received a call about a suspicious person at the school Tuesday around 8 a.m.

The school division says man was "disoriented" and "fearful" and wandered in as students were getting dropped off by their parents.

"There were five staff members outside and saw the person coming through that doorway," said Richard Ponti, Director of Safety and Loss Control for Virginia Beach Schools. "They are out there at the cars greeting students and quickly used two-way radio to communicate with the office."

Joseph Andrew Miller

Ponti says the building then went into a lockdown, which is protocol for when an intruder enters.

When officers arrived, police detained a man who came into the school and went into the gym. Police say the man was unarmed.

There were no students in the gym while the man was in the school and the school division says he was taken into custody.

"It was a real serious test and it showed that the school was ready for it. It can handle that type of emergency," said Ponti.

The following alert was sent to parents Tuesday morning:

Good morning, parents. This is Dr. Wilkerson, principal of Thalia Elementary School, calling with an important message about school safety. I want to let you know that earlier today, the school was placed on a brief lockdown after a stranger made his way onto campus. Students and staff remained in classrooms and all doors were locked. I want to reassure you that our students and staff remained safe at all times, and the incident was confined to one area of campus away from our children. Police and the school division’s Office of Safety and Loss Control responded to our school, and the person was taken into custody. Because this is a police matter, I do not have any additional information to share with you at this time; however, I will update you when with another Alert Now message when possible. I want to thank you for your understanding and for your continued support of Thalia Elementary School.

School officials say police confirmed that the person who came on to campus did not have a weapon of any kind and they have identified him as 22-year-old Joseph Andrew Miller.

Miller was arrested and charged with Trespass on School Property and Distrubing the Peace. He is currently being held without bond.