A gunman who had been a fugitive for a week held 11 students hostage at an elementary school on Friday but was tackled outside a classroom and arrested without any harm to the children.

Police said Randall Hofland, 55, had released all the students and had turned over a loaded gun to one of the young hostages before he was taken into custody at Stockton Springs Elementary School.

He was taken to jail and all of the school's students, totaling about 80, were taken by bus to an elementary school in neighboring Searsport.

"These children are very brave. They did a tremendous job," Gov. John Baldacci said.

The gunman walked into a classroom in the small coastal town around the start of the day. State police were called at 8:42 a.m. (1242 GMT) and Hofland was arrested about 20 minutes later after he was tackled by a state trooper.

Hofland was the object of a manhunt that began on the night of Oct. 23 after he allegedly pointed a gun at a police officer who stopped him during a seat belt safety check in Searsport. Hofland drove off, eventually abandoning his car in a field.

Hofland was charged Friday with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon in the Oct. 23 traffic stop. Police and prosecutors were meeting to discuss charges related to the hostage situation.

The school district has scheduled counseling sessions for students and meetings with parents Saturday.

Hofland had lived in the area for about seven years, most recently in a trailer off a dirt road, Searsport Police Chief Dick LaHaye said.