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Harlem School Locked Down After Shots Fired Nearby

By  Janon Fisher and Marie Telling | October 3, 2013 2:06pm | Updated on October 3, 2013 3:42pm

 Police are looking for a man who the believe fired a gun outside the entrance of the Harlem Success Academy/PS 123.
Police are looking for a man who the believe fired a gun outside the entrance of the Harlem Success Academy/PS 123.
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DNAinfo/Marie Telling

HARLEM — A Harlem school building was locked-down Thursday afternoon after shots were fired near its entrance, police said.

No students were hurt, according to a woman who answered the phone at the building. The space at West 140th Street and Edgecombe Avenue is shared by Success Academy and P.S. 123, the Mahalia Jackson School.

"We're all okay," the woman said.

Police cordoned off the block with tape and prevented students and teachers entering or leaving the schools.

"I heard the shots and I came right downstairs because there's a school and I was afraid for the kids," Sam Barnwell, 64, who lives on the block, said.

Cops were called to the school about 12:53 p.m. The lockdown was lifted about 1:40 p.m, school officials said.

Barnwell said he saw them take a man dressed in a white shirt and blue pants into custody, though a police spokesman said they were still hunting for the shooter.

Elly Rivera, 30, who also lives across the street and has a daughter at the school, said that she came outside after hearing five shots fired.

She said she saw two men shooting at each other, one was wearing a white shirt and blue plants.

"I felt scared for my kid," she said. Rivera said that her daughter's classroom is located on the ground floor by the playground, near where the shootout occurred.

"Usually the kids would play in the school yard," she said. "Thank God they were't out there today."

A city ambulance was called to the scene, but a fire department spokesman said that there were no injuries.

Parents flocked to the school after hearing about the shots through word-of-mouth.

David Michaels, 32, who came to the school to pick up his 8-year-old and 9-year-old sons about an hour later was startled by the scene.

"I wasn't informed and I get here and I see the yellow tape," he said. Michaels said that he hoped that the school releases the students from the entrance away from where the shooting took place.

"I don't need my children to see all these police car," he said.

Edward Tucker, 51, was also outraged that he wasn't called by the school.

"I just found out. I got a call from a friend. He told me there were shots fired at your son's school. My heart stopped," he said.

Perla Borrero, 25, rushed to the school, located between St. Nicholas and Edgecombe avenues, to pick up her little girl.

"I feel scared for my daughter," she said. "It's not safe around here. I'd rather put her in the Bronx. I come from there and I haven't heard of anything like this coming from there."

The department of education did not immediately respond to questions about their policy on parental notification following lock-downs.