Houston & Peach

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, the city’s police chief said Thursday.

At a news conference Thursday, Warner Robins Police Chief Brett Evans said his department was “very aware of the threats that have been alleged” over the past few days.

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

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

The threats reportedly were in connection with a fight between a student -- whose name has not been released -- and teacher Daniel Kelly, who also is the school’s wrestling coach. A male student shown in the photos was the same student involved in the fight, police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson said.

According to Evans, only one of the images actually depicted a student who was enrolled at Northside High School, and at least one of the pictures was from 2013.

Further, after a search of the home of the student allegedly making the perceived threat, the weapons depicted in the photos were confirmed to be “AirSoft brand,” which fire non-lethal plastic pellets.

Evans 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, the chief said.

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

Evans also addressed the investigation into the classroom fight at the school, which occurred Monday. Evans said the department is still in the investigative process and said his investigators have had the full assistance of all involved, including Kelly, the teacher.

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

As for the Houston County High incident, the chief clarified previous reports from his office. He said the investigation into an alleged threat there 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 of a suspect.

All students with that first name were searched. Parson said one additional officer temporarily assisted the resource officer in the search.

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

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

Evans 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 of 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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