Fugitive at large following lockdown at Thomas Jefferson HS


by KING 5 News


Posted on May 18, 2012 at 7:32 AM

Updated Friday, May 18 at 11:34 AM

A search for a potentially armed and dangerous fugitive caused Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn to go into lockdown Friday morning.

The lockdown at TJHS was lifted after about an hour when police did not locate the 26-year-old wanted felon Blake Bellecourt. However, police will remain in the area throughout the day.

The search for Bellecourt began Thursday night at a home a few blocks away from the school, at South 288th Street and 51st Avenue South. SWAT officers surrounded the house believing he was inside. After nine hours, officers determined he was not at the home.

Neighbors told police that Bellecourt, known to elude police, returned to the area around 6:15 a.m., prompting the lockdown at TJHS as a precaution. There was no indication he was on school grounds.

Bellecourt is wanted on three arrest warrants, including escape from community custody and assault. Officers said he also fled a shoplifting incident at a Pacific Highway convenience store last week. In addition, Bellecourt has prior conviction for assault and illegal possession of a firearm.

Kent Police stressed Bellecourt has resisted arrest in the past several times.

"He has successfully eluded police a number of times over the last few days," said Kent Police Assistant Chief Pat Lowery. "This is not a person [the public] should try to contact."

Lowery said police will likely remain in the area throughout the day.

Federal Way School District administrators sent information out to parents via the district's voice messaging system, the district website, and Federal Way Public Schools' Facebook page.