On Monday (3/1) at 10:07 a.m. the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of the Deputy Resource Officer at Wayne Central Middle School (located on Route 350 in Ontario Center) engaged in a physical confrontation with a custodian armed with a knife.
The Thomas C. Armstrong Middle School and all other schools in the district were placed on lockdown during Monday’s incident. No students were involved or injured, as additional police arrived at the scene.
The incident began after Thomas Franco, age 19, confronted another district employee with a knife during a confrontation.
During the struggle with Resource Deputy Robert Mansell, Franco resisted. It is alleged Franco pulled the trigger on the officer’s holstered Smith and Wesson M&P .45 caliber handgun. The bullet hit Officer Mansell’s foot.
Both Franco and Mansell, who suffered a self-inflicted knife wound, were taken to the hospital, treated for their injuries and both released.
Franco was subsequently charged with two counts of Assault in the Second Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon.
“As soon as I got the text, I ran right over here,” said parent Jim Canternolo, who has a son in sixth grade. “Mind blowing. There is a police presence here. I’m hearing all kinds of crazy stuff. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Canternolo credits the quick actions of the district and law enforcement. So does parent Crystal Rowe.
“They did do the right thing. They put the school on lockdown and informed the parents,” she said.
School officials say counselors were be on hand for students.
Franco was arraigned Monday and was remanded to the Wayne County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. He was subsequently released and expected to appear in Ontario Town Court at a later date to answer the charges.
District Superintendent Joseph Siracuse said that no students were involved in or witnessed the incident and shared several letters with district families on Monday, detailing what he could share about what caused the lockdown. “The safety of our students and staff will remain a top priority.”
News partner 13WHAM contributed