A Bristol Borough man is facing several charges after he is alleged to have harassed a Philadelphia defense attorney and made threats against a school.
Daniel Gallagher, 50, of the 200 block of Mill Street was taken into custody by officers who flocked to the borough to search for him. He was thought to be armed, but police discovered no weapons on him.
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The 50-year-old is facing charges out of Philadelphia because he called a city defense attorney that represented him during an arson case in the 1980s and made the threats, borough police chief Arnold Porter said.
Gallagher is alleged to have harassed the lawyer and told him that “blood will flow” at an unnamed school.
Philadelphia police detectives alerted borough authorities at 2 p.m. after noticing Gallagher resided just two blocks from Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. From there, Bristol Borough police called for assistance from Bristol Township and the Bucks County Sheriff’s Department, Porter said.
Officers and school officials locked down Snyder-Girotti and the nearby middle-high school. Outside Snyder-Girotti, officers armed with patrol rifles and body armor roved the area.
While parents gathered outside the elementary school, about a block away at Old Route 13 and Mill Street, officers apprehended Gallagher without incident at 4:05 p.m.
The chief told reporters that Gallagher did not specify what school he was targeting in the threats. The man did tell the lawyer about owning an AK-47 and attending a recent gun show in the south.
Police did not release a motive for the man’s actions, but said he admitted to being drunk at the time. When Gallagher was walked to a waiting police car, he confirmed what police said and admitted to being “intoxicated.”
After being arrested, Gallagher showed remorse for his actions, Porter stated.
A search of the man’s Mill Street apartment was pending a warrant, the chief told Patch.
At the end of the the nearly two hour lockdown, hundreds of parents that had gathered to pick up their children from Snyder-Girotti were allowed to enter the school grounds.
Acting borough police sergeant Pete Faight gave the worried kids fist bumps and thanked them for their cooperation after the incident.
One parent even brought the family dog to the school. She said it was a way to calm her son after the day’s events.
Parents both criticized and praised school officials for the way the situation was handled.
“They did their job and protected everybody,” parent Jennifer Perez said. She added that the district could have handled communicating specific incident information better.
Parents received phone calls to alert them of the situation and a message was posted on the district’s website.
In some cases, misinformation relayed over social media and through text messages caused unneeded concern to some parents.
Superintendent Greg Wright praised the district’s staff, students and parents for the way they handled the situation. He also thanked local police for their work in protecting the schools.
Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe spoke highly of the police response to the incidents.
Gallagher is expected to be charged in Philadelphia with ethnic intimidation, harassment, harassment by communications and terroristic threats, Porter said.