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O'FALLON, Mo. — A 29-year-old man had doused himself with gasoline on Wednesday morning in the Liberty High School parking lot and was threatening to set himself alight when school staff pinned him to the ground and called police. 

School administrators were alerted by a nearby resident that a man was walking around campus and "seemed distressed," according to a letter sent to parents. Principal Edgar Nelson and another staff member found the man near the school's back parking lot holding a gas can and a lighter and saying he was going to harm himself. Staff members pinned the man to the ground and took the cigarette lighter away from him. 

O'Fallon police responded to the school at 2275 Sommers Road shortly after 6:30 a.m. The man was taken to an area hospital for treatment of skin exposure to chemicals. No school staff member was injured, police said. Wentzville School District staff confirmed that no students witnessed the commotion.

The man is from Wright City and has no apparent ties to Liberty High School, police said. 

Wednesday was the second day of the school year for Liberty High students.

If you or someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or visit

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