Suspicious backpacks discovered at Lakeview Middle leads to evacuation

Winter Garden police evacuated Lakeview Middle school students after having located two suspicious backpacks this morning.

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  • | 10:02 a.m. November 6, 2018
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Lakeview Middle School, located at 1200 W Bay St, was evacuated Tuesday morning following the discovery of two suspicious backpacks found near the school's campus, Winter Garden police say.

According to a press release from the Winter Garden Police Department, officers made contact with a suspicious person at the school in reference to suspicious activity where the backpacks were located.

The suspicious person told police they would be interested in what was contained inside the bags. The person is now being interviewed by Winter Garden detectives, the release states.

As a precaution, children who walk to school were routed back home and the remaining children were moved to West Orange High School.

This is a developing story –– check back for updates.

UPDATE: According to Winter Garden police Lt. Scott Allen, Orange County Bomb Squad responded to Lakeview Middle to investigate the suspicious bookbags, both of which were cleared, as nothing of concern was found inside.

The suspicious person was identified as Ocoee resident Taylor Patterson, 25, who will be charged with trespassing on a school property and interfering with a school function, Allen said.

Items were found in Patterson's vehicle that may also lead to other charges, Allen said.

Patterson, who is a convicted felon from Fort Hood, Texas, and is a military veteran, was located in the school's north parking lot Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, when school staff noticed him and called law enforcement.

Patterson, who was wearing a weight vest when police officers made contact with him, told officers he had been working out, Allen said.

“He is in custody and he does not admit to doing anything wrong," Allen said. “He states he was at the school from about 3:30 this morning until about 7:25 when a police officer made contact with him.”

The school is safe and has since been cleared, and law-enforcement is leaving the campus, Allen said. Police officers continue to interview Patterson regarding the incident.

“His behavior is very bizarre, and it continues to be,” Allen said.