School lockdown rattles Dolores

Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 9:45 PM

A man wanted for parole violation provoked the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office to temporarily lock down the school in Dolores on Friday.

John Finocchiaro, 30, had eluded local law enforcement for several days last week. When he was reportedly seen wearing black clothing with a purple backpack near the downtown campus about 10:30 a.m. Friday, sheriff deputies and school officials stepped into action.

"We went right into lockdown mode very quickly," said Dolores School District superintendent Scott Cooper.

The entire campus, comprised of about 750 students, was placed on lockdown, meaning the lights were turned out and the doors locked. The incident required school officials to not only address concerns from younger students, but also to adjust lunch and recess schedules, Cooper said.

There were no reports of gunshots at the school, said Lt. Det. Ted Meador of the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office, adding the lockdown was a precautionary measure. The lockdown was lifted by noon.

"No one was ever in any danger," said Meador.

Wanted on a Department of Corrections no-bond warrant for parole violation stemming from an assault conviction, Finocchiaro was found inside a residence at the Hillside Apartments on N. 15th Street, reports show. He was taken into custody without incident.

"He came walking out of a back room with his hands up," said Deputy Corbin Claxton in a written report.

Sheriff Dennis Spruell posted a warning to his Facebook page last Thursday, claiming Finocchiaro posed a threat to law enforcement. The post also advised that the parolee could be armed with a .25-caliber automatic handgun.

Reports show Finocchiaro was unarmed at the time of his capture.

Cooper said about 10 patrol cars from the sheriff's office, along with a forest ranger and a state police unit responded to the scene.

"We were well protected," he said. "We were very fortunate."