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J.K. Gourdin Elementary on lockdown as police look for Walterboro armed robbery suspects

J.K. Gourdin Elementary School, Pineville, S.C. (Google Earth)

Officials confirm J.K. Gourdin Elementary School in Pineville is on a precautionary lockdown Thursday as law enforcement officers search for two armed robbery suspects.

Cpl. Amye Stivender, public information officer for Walterboro Police Department, says two suspects accused of robbing a Waffle House on Bells Highway in Walterboro Thursday morning wound up in Berkeley County after being spotted in Sumter County, and leading authorities on a high-speed chase.

Stivender says witnesses told Walterboro PD officers two armed men entered the restaurant wearing masks and gloves, and demanded money from employees, then ran off after getting the money.

Police say another witness told them they later saw two men come out of a wooded area nearby, get into a Chevrolet Camaro, and drive away.

Stivender says Sumter Police later spotted the vehicle and tried to get the car to pull over, leading to a chase. The driver reportedly wrecked the car in the Pineville portion of Berkeley County near J.K. Gourdin Elementary, and the suspects ran off on foot.

According to Berkeley County School District spokesman Brian Troutman, a precautionary lockdown at J.K. Gourdin began shortly after school started Thursday morning. Law enforcement has advised there is no threat to the school's students or staff, Troutman says.

Law enforcement from Berkeley, Colleton, Orangeburg and Sumter counties are assisting with the investigation.

This story will be updated when more details become available.

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