EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — An Effingham man was arrested near South Side School on Thursday after he was spotted by neighbors openly carrying a rifle, which turned out to be air powered.
Effingham Police said on Facebook they received reports of an armed man around 11 a.m. near the intersection of National Avenue and Fifth Street. Officers quickly responded to the area found the suspect, identified as 49-year-old Jeffry B. Pinkerton, who was arrested without incident.
Police said Pinkerton is being charged with drug-related offenses and trespassing to a vehicle, but did not list any weapons offenses.
Before Pinkerton was arrested, police said officers were dispatched to South Side School as a precaution and they remained there until he was arrested. The school worked closely with Effingham Police to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland praised vigilant neighbors for reporting the suspicious activity, which assisted their swift response.
“People in the neighborhood saw a man who appeared to be open carrying a rifle and dialed 911 right away to report it to law enforcement, along with a very good description of the subject in question. This immediate action allowed our officers to respond instantly and identify and detain the suspect on sight,” McFarland said. “The teamwork between patrol officers in their response was excellent, as a few of the responding officers went immediately to the local school to protect the students and inform the administration. This overall cooperation between community, school and law enforcement is a key component to what makes our city a great place to live.”
Andrew Johnson, Superintendent of the Effingham School District, also expressed gratitude for the teamwork between law enforcement and the community in keeping schools safe.
The Effingham Police Department was helped by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department and the Illinois State Police in responding to the scene.
The Department also encouraged people to report suspicious activity if they see it, calling either Effingham Police at 217-347-0774 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 217-347-6583. Tips to the latter agency can be rewarded with up to $1,000 in cash.