RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A man who allegedly stole a purse from a women, knocked her to the ground and dragged her a few feet has been arrested and charged with robbery.
Andrew T. Bedwell, 35, of the 1400 block of Bramwell Road, was arrested after a robbery Monday on Hull Street near Elkhardt Middle School. He fled the scene and ran across school grounds, which forced the school to hold students for about an hour after they were supposed to be dismissed.
Richmond Public Schools offered an apology Monday night after Elkhardt Middle School was locked down and parents were only notified after it was all over.
NBC12 investigated why parents were left relying on us to get the news instead of the school system.
School officials said they had technical difficulties with the Parent Link system. Alerts didn't get through until almost five o'clock. That was more than an hour after students were released and several hours after the gunman got away.
Frantic parents heard the news their kids could be in danger, not from the school their children attend, but from media sources like the NBC12 Facebook page. Teresa Mosso rushed to Elkhardt Middle, saw police cars, but no one from the school to tell her what was happening.
"I didn't know what was going on and where this person was and where my daughter was and if he's in the school, how they are handling it and if everything was secure enough," she explained.
And it might not have been.
Two women were crossing Hull Street Road when a man stole a purse from one of the women, knocked her to the ground and dragged her a few feet. A Good Samaritan saw it all happen and got into a physical altercation with the suspect. When he noticed that man had a gun, he let him go.
With a gunman running from the law, the code red went out. Students like Jerrell Williams were told to stay put. That was around two o'clock.
"Teachers were scared," he recalled. "I was scared, other students so yeah it was scary."
Richmond Public Schools told NBC12 Elkhardt's principal attempted to send out a Parent Link message but it wouldn't go through. Staff worked on the issue and records show the alert getting out at five o'clock.
A spokesperson said this never should have happened. She maintained they're tightening the communications process; including having someone to inform parents the next time they dash to the school to make sure their child is safe.
"We should have been notified," Mosso reiterated. "They said they were supposed to. I didn't get nothing."