Man tied to Lebanon school lockdowns pleads not guilty to charges

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins removes a long gun and a gun case from a truck after taking the driver into custody outside the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024.  took a military veteran suffering a mental health crisis into custody and removed a rifle from the vehicle he was driving in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police Chief Phillip Roberts said the man was believed to be having a mental health crisis and had four loaded guns in the truck. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Lebanon Police Cpl. Jeremy Perkins removes a long gun and a gun case from a truck after taking the driver into custody outside the Hanover Street School in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. took a military veteran suffering a mental health crisis into custody and removed a rifle from the vehicle he was driving in Lebanon, N.H., on Friday, March 15, 2024. Lebanon Police Chief Phillip Roberts said the man was believed to be having a mental health crisis and had four loaded guns in the truck. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-30-2024 7:31 PM

Modified: 05-01-2024 9:14 AM


LEBANON — A Vershire man has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from an incident that provoked a lockdown at Lebanon High School and Hanover Street School in March when he allegedly approached the school campus with loaded weapons in his vehicle.

Eric Wilkinson, 39, of Parker Road, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest when he appeared for his scheduled arraignment at Lebanon District Court on Monday.

The plea and a written waiver was submitted at the clerk’s window and did not require Wilkinson to be in the presence of a judge, according to the court clerk. He also requested a form requesting a public defender.

Wilkinson did not return a phone message seeking comment on Tuesday.

The March 15 lockdown began when Lebanon police said they intercepted a man — later identified as Wilkinson — in his pickup who reportedly was experiencing a mental health crisis and had earlier threatened to harm himself.

Wilkinson was arriving at the school to attend a weekly singalong session with his grade-school-aged son.

Wilkinson’s ex-partner reached out to Lebanon police after she did not get the response she wanted from a call of concern to Vermont police.

When Lebanon police stopped the pickup truck on the school’s perimeter for a “welfare check,” they found four firearms in the truck and alleged Wilkinson was “non-compliant” for more than two hours as they tried to coax him out of the cab.

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Ultimately, police took the firearms into their possession without incident and transported Wilkinson to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for evaluation.

The incident occurred just as many high schoolers were leaving for the day. Students who were still on campus were told to shelter in place — including some who were in their cars in the parking lot and others who were in locker rooms.

School officials said after the incident that following their own internal review of “response procedures,” they would be meeting with Lebanon police to share their findings and determine if there are ways to improve them.

On Tuesday, Amy Allen, superintendent of SAU 88, said via email that following the incident school officials “debriefed it in detail” with the Lebanon police and “building-level teams are reviewing and updating their emergency operating procedures.”

“There is nothing more to update,” she said.

No future court dates had been set for Wilkinson as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.