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Warner Robins police chief: Threats against high schools unfounded

WARNER ROBINS -- Rumored threats of violence at both Northside and Houston County high schools have proven to be unfounded, according to Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans.

At a news conference Thursday, Evans said his department was “very aware of the threats that have been alleged” over the last few days.

“As of right now, we haven’t had anybody place any validity to any of the threats,” he said.

He said his department started receiving word of threats directed at Northside High beginning Tuesday. Reportedly, a student had referred to “shooting it up,” in reference to the school, and images surfaced on social media of young males holding what appeared to be assault rifles.

The threats were reportedly in connection with a fight between a student and teacher Daniel Kelly, also the school’s wrestling coach. A young man allegedly shown in the photos was the same student involved in the fight, according to police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson.

According to Evans, only one of the images actually depicted a student that was even enrolled at Northside High School, and at least one of the pictures was from 2013. Further, after a search of the home where the student allegedly making the threat lives, any weapon depicted in the photos was confirmed to be an “AirSoft-brand” gun, which fires non-lethal plastic pellets.

Evans, a parent himself, said he was sympathetic to the concern of parents of students at Northside.

“What we fully understand is the parents’ concern,” he said. “I understand the parents’ aspect on all this.”

In addition to an increased police presence at Northside, officers also remained at the residence of the student in question for surveillance and protection.

“Our additional presence (at Northside) will be there as long as necessary,” Evans said.

As for the Houston County High incident, Evans clarified previous reports. According to he and Parson, the investigation into an alleged threat was led by the school administration and the school’s resource officer after multiple students called to report threats of gun violence, giving only a first name as a suspect.

All students with that first name were searched. According to Parson, only one additional officer came to temporarily assist the resource officer in the search.

“Just the SRO has been at Houston County High School,” Evans said.

While Evans said the school’s investigation has yielded no evidence of actual threats, he was complimentary of the board and the school’s actions.

“Everything that they had to act on, they acted on,” he said.

Evans also addressed the investigation into the classroom fight, which occurred Monday. Evans said the department is still in the midst of that investigative process and all the necessary interviews, and he added that his investigators have had the full assistance of all involved, including Kelly.

“I can just tell you he was very cooperative,” Evans said.

He concluded the news conference by saying that all evidence related to any of these incidents was still welcomed. The department has gained access to a couple videos from the fight.

“Please continue to pass those on to us,” he said.

To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331.

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