No ‘vendetta’ for Barrington school sign smasher


Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said his department has no reason to believe the man who was charged with destroying the Sowams School sign has any vendetta against the school.

On Oct. 20, police arrested Sowams Road resident Kip Eaton after he allegedly smashed and burned the school sign. Officers found a portion of the sign burning in Mr. Eaton’s back yard fire pit.

A few days later, Sowams School Principal Jim Callahan reportedly began hearing from concerned parents who wondered if Mr. Eaton, a neighbor to the school, posed any danger. Mr. Callahan sent an e-mail to parents stating, in part, “Barrington Police have informed us that there will be an increased presence around all schools.”

Chief LaCross clarified that point earlier this week. He said the increased presence by officers in and around local schools was done mainly in response to two out-of-state incidents at public schools: a shooting at a Nevada school and the murder of a high school teacher in Danvers, Mass.

“Those (incidents) could stir up something in somebody’s mind,” Chief LaCross said. “Out of precaution we’ll be more visible here.”

As for Mr. Eaton, Chief LaCross said there was no reason to believe that the Sowams Road resident would do anything that could be deemed dangerous to students or staff at the neighboring school. He added that anyone who has information that could run counter to that should contact local police at 437-3933.

“We don’t have any reason to think he has any vendetta toward the school,” Chief LaCross said.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.