Suspect arrested after reports of armed teen send Belgian city of Waregem into lockdown

Police in the Belgian city of Waregem told some 12,000 locals to stay indoors, while schools and public buildings were put on lockdown as they search for an armed man. One person has been arrested, according to city officials.

According to local reports, an armed 18-year-old man known to police was seen alighting from a bus close to the grounds of the Vives University of Applied Sciences in Kortrijk on Thursday morning. The university was evacuated over the reports before wider lockdown measures were implemented.

City officials later posted a statement on Twitter saying the young man had been arrested and “all security measures are lifted.”

“Everyone can go back to normal on the street and all students can go home.”

Footage circulating online purportedly showed a member of an armed response unit bearing a sniper rifle on the roof of a school building.

Four secondary schools and three primary schools went into lockdown while the police continued their search. An official Twitter account for the city posted a message around 4 pm local time to tell people not to come to schools in the area but that everyone in the schools “is well.” A number of public buildings were also in lockdown, including the town hall and the art academy.

“We can’t leave anything to chance,” Waregem’s mayor, Kurt Vanryckeghem, said of the lockdown. “That is why we have locked the schools. The police are standing by. There is absolutely no need to panic. It is a preventive measure.”

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