Crime

Reported gunman sends elementary students scrambling from field day

Grandmother impressed with handling of emergency lockdown of Pearl Stephens Elementary

Barbara Stephens was outside with her granddaughter at a field day at Pearl Stephens Elementary School when it suddenly went on emergency lockdown Thursday.
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Barbara Stephens was outside with her granddaughter at a field day at Pearl Stephens Elementary School when it suddenly went on emergency lockdown Thursday.

Boys and girls were enjoying field day at Pearl Stephens Elementary School on Thursday until the principal approached.

“We have a situation. Go into the classrooms, now,” students were told after 11 a.m.

Warner Robins schools near South Davis Drive were locked down for nearly an hour Thursday morning after a report of possible suspects with a gun.

No shots were fired or injuries reported, according to Warner Robins police spokeswoman Jennifer Parson.

Shella McGahee was attending the elementary school field day with her two sons, ages 10 and 8, when the students were ushered inside Pearl Stephens.

Warner Robins schools were locked down for nearly an hour Thursday morning after a report of possible suspects with a gun.

Some of them were crying, but teachers tried to reassure them by reminding them about the safety drills they had practiced.

Barbara Stephens, who was at school with her granddaughter, said the field of students evacuated in a matter of seconds.

“I’m just impressed,” Stephens said. “I feel safe with my granddaughter here at this school because they were safe and they got ‘em in very fast,” Stephens said.

Some parents did not realize what was happening until the students were on the move.

“I just saw the teachers line them up, and like I said, they had them moving, and they were in the school before anybody knew anything,” Stephens said.

The students were taken inside classrooms and told to sit on the floor near the wall as teachers turned off the lights.

The youngsters settled down, and some of them even pulled out books to read, McGahee said.

Yolanda Stubbs talked about the lockdown at Pearl Stephens Elementary School. Her child is a student at the school.

Pearl Stephens and Warner Robins High School were placed on a “code red” lockdown, according to the Warner Robins Police Department’s Facebook page. That generally warns of an immediate or imminent threat to a school building population.

“The school, they did a good job,” McGahee said after the alert was lifted at Pearl Stephens by 11:45 a.m.

A Warner Robins police patrol car was still parked in the walkway of the school as parents came to pick up some students after the ordeal.

Yolanda Stubbs took her child home.

“First they said there was a gunman pointed out here around the school, saying that’s why they put the kids on lockdown,” Stubbs said.

At Warner Robins High, people also were standing outside, waiting for the locked doors to reopen on South Davis Drive. Normal activity resumed a short time later.

Just before 11:15 a.m., more than half a dozen patrol cars were reportedly streaming down Russell Parkway toward the schools.

Officers canvassed nearby neighborhoods after a report of two suspects who might have a gun near campus, according to the department’s social media accounts.

No further information about the suspects or the search was immediately available.

Once the scene was safe, Pearl Stephens staff removed the field day equipment and cones from the athletic fields.

Telegraph writer Joe Kovac Jr. and photo editor Woody Marshall contributed to this report.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines

Becky Purser: 478-256-9559, @BecPurser

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