Merritt Elementary School in Niles was placed on lockdown Friday as the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department responded to an assault nearby. The department tells us deputies were called out to a home in the 1,600 block of Florence Avenue in Niles Township around 2 p.m. on a report of a man who had threatened others with a knife. The home’s residents told police the 21-year-old man had barricaded himself inside, but when deputies entered the home, he was gone. The suspect, who lives at the residence where deputies were called, was not arrested at the scene. Police have not said if he was picked up elsewhere. The case is being referred on to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office for charges that include assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful imprisonment.