Willard Middle School at 2425 Stuart St. Photo: Nancy Rubin

See update below.

Willard Middle School was put on lockdown Friday afternoon, due to police activity in the area.

In a phone message alert sent out to the school community at 1:17 p.m., Principal Debbie Dean said that the lockdown had just been lifted and had lasted about 15 minutes. She said the decision to go on lockdown was taken as a precautionary measure, and the police had detained a suspect.

Dean stressed that all the students were safe and the school had assistance from BPD.

Update: 4:50 p.m.

Willard school was put on lockdown briefly because Berkeley and UC police were pursuing a suspect wanted in connection with an incident that had just happened in People’s Park, according to Lt. Andrew Rateaver of the Berkeley Police Department.

UC police responded to reports of a fight in People’s Park involving a knife, according to Sgt. Thomas Wing. When police got to the scene, one of the men involved in the fight took off, leading to the chase. The police pursuit went through the area of Willard Park and the 2700 block of Regent St.

“Out of an abundance of caution, a pre-school program in progress at Willard Park was cautioned to shelter in place, while officers searched for the outstanding suspect,” according to Rateaver. “Willard Middle School was also contacted and advised to have students and staff shelter in place. Coincidently, staff at Willard school had scheduled an emergency drill for later this afternoon.

Within about 20 minutes officers took a suspect into custody. This individual was turned over to the University Police. Shelter in place advisories were lifted.”

Wing said the subject was cooperative after his arrest and told police he had run because there was a warrant out for his arrest. The suspect was arrested for the warrant and on suspicion of battery. It turned out there was no knife used in the fight at People’s Park, said Wing. He did not have the suspect’s name available.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...