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Schools on alert after kids threatened

June 03, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA.

A man in a pickup truck brandished a gun at a group of Shepherdstown Middle School students while they walked home Thursday afternoon, placing Jefferson County Schools on "a heightened alert," according to Schools Superintendent R. Steven Nichols.

Nichols said the alert, the lowest level of threat for the school system, urges teachers and school staff to take extra caution and "be very aware of what's going on in and around our buildings."

Nichols said the alert will continue through Wednesday, the last day of school for the school system.

"We're just being very cautious," he said.

Shepherdstown Police Department Chief Curtis Keller said a man driving a red pickup truck pulled over and yelled at a group of about five or six middle-schoolers walking on Duke Street (W.Va. 480) on Thursday about 3:30 p.m.

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The man directed his comments at a boy who was wearing his pants baggy.

"This guy basically pulled over and yelled at him to pull his pants up," Keller said.

The man - described only as a black man between 50 and 60 years old - pulled over and continued yelling back and forth with the youth, he said.

At one point, the man said, "Well, I got something here for you," and showed the group a gun, Keller said.

The students ran, and the man drove the red, older model Ford Ranger pickup truck toward Kearneysville, Keller said. The truck had West Virginia tags and had "a small figure" attached to its antenna, according to a press release from the school system.

"We're checking around," Keller said. "We've been on a lookout for the red truck. It might have been just a one-time thing."

Anyone with information about the incident may call the Jefferson County 911 Center at 304-725-8484 or the Shepherdstown Police Department at 304-876-6036 and ask for Officer Chris Roper.

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