‘I was crying’: Parent rattled after man with handgun walks into her children’s preschool

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A series of text messages sent Tracy Trotter into a panic Monday. The messages were from Our Lady of the Presentation, where her two kids go to school.

"I knew immediately something was wrong because they'd never done that," Trotter said.

The texts said "soft lockdown," and "no students out and no parents in," and "more info forthcoming.  We are safe."

"I was crying. I called my husband in tears," Trotter said.

She later learned it was 40-year-old Phil Spurgeon who allegedly caused the lockdown.  Court records say staff were concerned by his behavior when he walked into the school and asked him to leave.

Spurgeon allegedly said, "You don't want me to do that," and a receptionist reportedly saw a handgun sticking out of his pocket.

"You send them there hoping they're going to be safe and continue on throughout your day, go to work, do whatever you've got to do, then that happens and you just know that it can happen anywhere, anytime," Trotter said.

School staffers reportedly kept Spurgeon in a secured lobby, but when a door opened, he made it into the school briefly and grabbed a door frame.  Another employee "pushed him through to shut the door,"  according to court documents.

Police arrived within three minutes and arrested him.  Investigators said surveillance video from the school confirmed employee accounts of the incident. There were no injuries.

"I'm just so grateful for the staff at the school for handling it the way they did, the Lee's Summit Police Department getting there as quick as they did," Trotter said. "I couldn't be more grateful because things could've been a lot worse."

The school director, Catherine Koob, shared the following statement with FOX4:

"Myself and the staff are trying to process everything that happened and look towards the future and what we can do to ensure the continued safety of our students and families.  As caregivers this is our biggest priority right now and going forward."

"They did a great job, and I couldn't be more happy with them and grateful for keeping all the kids safe, not just my kids but all the kids," Trotter said.

The suspect, Phil Spurgeon, has no direct ties to the school, but he lives less than a block away.  He's charged with unlawful use of a weapon and is being held on $25,000 bond.  Police are still investigating what might've prompted him to come to the school armed.

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