'Credible threat' forces lockdown at Musselman High School in Inwood

October 19, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

INWOOD, W.VA. - Several hundred worried parents gathered Thursday at Musselman High School after school officials and police learned of a credible threat of "violence and death" at the school, police and school officials said.

About 20 police officers searched the school along U.S. 11 after it was learned that a student might start shooting in the building, according to principal Ron Stephens and Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith.

Police found no weapon in the building or any student who was going to carry out such a threat, Smith said.

As many as 300 people gathered at the school as exaggerated rumors about the incident circulated throughout Berkeley and Jefferson counties, Stephens and Smith said.


In another incident, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies were called to Jefferson High School at about 11:19 a.m. after a student turned in a paper that concerned school officials, police said.

The male student turned the paper in as part of a class assignment, said Lt. Tom Hansen, who declined to say what the paper stated.

The student was taken to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office, where he made a comment "that could be considered a credible threat of violence," according to a press release from the sheriff's office.

The boy was being held Wednesday afternoon in the Vicki Douglas Center, a juvenile detention center in Martinsburg, W.Va., Hansen said.

Musselman High School was locked down at about 10:15 a.m. and placed under "code orange," said Smith and Berkeley County Schools spokeswoman Jaimee Borger. Under those precautions, students did not move throughout the building while the school was searched, Stephens said.

Smith said someone told a female student at the school that a student had a gun and was going to start shooting between the fourth period and around noon. The threat was passed through a group of students before someone in the administration learned of it, Stephens said.

It was first believed that the individual who told the female student about the threat once attended Musselman High School, but that could not be verified, Stephens said.

Deputies fanned out to scour the school and "every student, every bag, every room" was searched. "Everything," Smith said.

The code orange alert was lifted at noon, Borger said.

Stephens said he talked to groups of parents after the search to tell them what happened.

Smith said it is common to have problems at schools but "not to this extent." Smith said the threat was a credible threat of "violence and death."

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