Police: Man shoots bullets into backyard tree, forcing lockdown of schools

A Massachusetts man shooting rounds into a tree in his backyard prompted two nearby schools to shelter in place and a massive law enforcement response to the neighborhood.

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Thirteen shell casings were found near the tree in Stoneham. Police said they expect to file charges against the man, whose gun was seized by police.

The man admitted to officers that he had taken part in a little target practice in the backyard, and shot some rounds into a tree.

The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing unit and K-9 unit joined state and local police in their response to the area after several 911 calls reported gunfire around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

When officers arrived, they saw people running in the backyard, trying to hide a target stand and other items in a nearby shed, police said.

The incident prompted the high school and the middle school to shelter in place, meaning students and staff were not allowed to leave or enter the building during that time, Stoneham Superintendent of Schools John Macero said in a statement.

The shelter in place was lifted shortly before 3 p.m.

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