Northeast Times

Weapons found in Lincoln High employee’s truck

Robert McK­enna

The locks have been changed at Lin­coln High School, po­lice said Fri­day.

All of them.

The man who had the keys to the old locks, build­ing en­gin­eer Robert McK­enna, is fa­cing weapons charges and sit­ting in jail with bail set at $1 mil­lion.

Sev­er­al days be­fore he was ar­res­ted, McK­enna was taken in­to cus­tody by the Sher­iff’s De­part­ment for men­tal eval­u­ation and placed in Friends Hos­pit­al. That same day, Sept. 20, po­lice found weapons in his Dodge Ram pickup truck, which was parked on the high school’s prop­erty. 

A school dis­trict spokes­wo­man said the en­tire school, in­clud­ing lock­ers and the roof, im­me­di­ately was searched by of­ficers with dogs be­cause McK­enna had ac­cess to most areas of the school. Po­lice said no oth­er weapons were found.

Upon his re­lease from Friends Hos­pit­al on Sept. 26, McK­enna, 55, was ar­res­ted by a de­tect­ive who works in the Po­lice De­part­ment’s home­land se­cur­ity unit. He was charged with pos­sess­ing weapons on school prop­erty and re­lated of­fenses, po­lice said Fri­day, Sept. 27. Ac­cord­ing to Com­mon Pleas Court’s on­line re­cords, McK­enna’s bail was set at $1 mil­lion, and he cur­rently re­mains in cus­tody in the Cur­ran-From­hold Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­ity on State Road. 

School spokes­wo­man Deirdre Dar­ragh said the eight-hour school lock­down began im­me­di­ately after weapons were found in McK­enna’s pickup. The lock­down in­volved evac­u­at­ing the school as well as search­ing it.

“This was an ex­cel­lent job by po­lice, depu­ties, school po­lice and home­land se­cur­ity to pro­tect the stu­dents and en­sure the safety of all in­volved,” Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey said.

McK­enna, a uni­on­ized school em­ploy­ee, has been as­signed to Lin­coln since Oc­to­ber 2007, ac­cord­ing to Dar­ragh. Be­fore that, he was pos­ted to the New Kens­ing­ton Fa­cil­it­ies Cen­ter, she stated in an email to the North­east Times. McK­enna was first hired as a cus­todi­al help­er in Au­gust 1986 and was con­tinu­ally em­ployed by the school dis­trict ever since, Dar­ragh stated.

Asked if McK­enna had any pre­vi­ous trouble as a school dis­trict em­ploy­ee, Dar­ragh said she couldn’t com­ment.

Joseph Blake, the Sher­iff’s De­part­ment’s spokes­man, said war­rant unit depu­ties had gone to McK­enna’s home on the 4300 block of Dever­eaux Ave. to ex­ecute a court-ordered evic­tion. No one was home, and a lock­smith was ordered to open the doors. 

Blake said the depu­ties had ob­tained in­form­a­tion that led them to con­tact po­lice, who along with the war­rant unit, went to Lin­coln High. Blake said McK­enna was taken in­to cus­tody, turned over to po­lice and sub­sequently com­mit­ted to Friends Hos­pit­al.

Blake said the con­tents of McK­enna’s home were re­moved and stored else­where. He did not say if any weapons were found in the home; po­lice also would not com­ment on what was found in the house.

Ac­cord­ing to on­line re­cords, McK­enna lost his home late last year in a sher­iff’s sale. It was pur­chased for $42,000. It cur­rently is up for sale with an ask­ing price of more than $82,000. The on­line list­ing for the prop­erty in­cludes the phrase, “enter at your own risk.”

Po­lice this week mon­it­or­ing McK­enna’s out­go­ing pris­on phone calls re­por­ted in­ter­cept­ing a con­ver­sa­tion in which McK­enna said that, when re­leased from pris­on, “If a cop even looks at me wrong, he’s get­ting two in the face. I’m go­ing to pull out a **** gun and shoot him right in the **** face.” The Sept. 30 re­port from the Po­lice De­part­ment’s Crim­in­al In­tel­li­gence Unit’s Pris­on In­tel­li­gence Group was widely cir­cu­lated with­in the de­part­ment.

McK­enna is sched­uled for a hear­ing at 8:30 a.m. on Fri­day, Oct. 4, in Room 406 of the Crim­in­al Justice Cen­ter, 13th and Fil­bert streets. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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