LYNN — Salem, not Lynn, is typically the place where people walk around in costumes — and sometimes get into trouble.
But on Wednesday afternoon, a Lynn elementary school was briefly locked down after the principal called 911 to report a man with a gun walking around outside the school.
The man, identified by police as George Cross, 40, of Lynn, was dressed in a white plastic "Star Wars" stormtrooper costume, and the gun was not real. But Lynn Police spokesman Lt. Rick Donnelly said that "the way things are today, you can't have that."
The call came from the principal of the Brickett Elementary School on Lewis Street (Route 1A) at around 1:30 p.m., as classes were about to wind up for the day, said Donnelly.
Donnelly said the principal thought the gun might be plastic, but since she wasn't certain, she erred on the side of caution.
Cross was arrested on charges of disturbing a school and loitering within 1,000 feet of a school.
"Our feelings are that he was not there to cause harm to the kids, but he used bad judgment," said Donnelly. "He did cause a disturbance and we can't tolerate that."
The children were kept inside until Cross was arrested.
"The principal did delay the dismissal of the school because of this entire incident," said Donnelly. "The kids can't get out, the parents can't get in."
Cross was arraigned Thursday in Lynn District Court, where he was released on his own recognizance with a warning to stay away from the Brickett School while the case is pending, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said. He's due back in court July 13.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.