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Decatur Police receive threat to ‘blow up’ school; bullet found on school campus


Decatur Police receive threat to ‘blow up’ school; bullet found on school campus

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated.

Someone called Decatur Police Wednesday morning and threatened to “blow up” a school. School officials also discovered a bullet on a locker room floor on Monday, Dec. 7, and there was a school lock down drill today.

But these events are not related, school and police officials say.

According to Lt. Jennifer Ross, a man called the Department’s non-emergency line at 10:22 a.m. and said “I’m going to blow up the school” before hanging up.

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“The Communications Officer attempted a return call to the number with negative results and notified the 911 Director or the incident,” Ross said. “A coordinated plan was put in place with the City of Decatur school superintendent to have every school checked for suspicious activity. Each school campus was checked by the Decatur Police Department, as well as, City of Decatur Schools faculty and no threat was detected. In addition, the shift supervisor contacted private schools in the City of Decatur to make them aware of the incident and check for suspicious activity. No threat was located at any of the private schools. The investigation was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division.”

Police received the threat two days after they were summoned to the high school because a student found a bullet on a locker room floor.

Superintendent David Dude said he doesn’t believe the two events are related. After Wednesday’s threat, CSD had all teachers stay with students until dismissal, making sure they weren’t participating in other activities like professional development, he said.

“Obviously when two things happen one after another it gets people wondering,” Dude said. “Based on what we know, I don’t think there’s a relationship between the two.”

There was also a “lock down drill” held at Clairemont Elementary School today and several planned for next week. These were previously scheduled and unrelated to the incidents being investigated by Decatur Police, according to a statement from CSD.

According to a police report, on Monday, Dec. 7, a student found a .32 ACP cartridge, a round typically used in handguns, on the floor of the boys locker room. Assistant Principal Wesley Hatfield told the responding officer that the student had entered the locker room with his class and found the cartridge on the floor. The student “immediately notified his teacher,” the police report says.

The report says that after finding the cartridge “an administrative search was performed with negative results.”

“Hatfield stated that numerous individuals were present at Decatur High School during the previous weekend and that he had no articulable suspicion regarding who may have brought the cartridge onto school property,” the report says.

The officer took the cartridge and placed it into an evidence locker.

CSD released the following statement regarding the threat made against the school system, the cartridge and the lock down drills:

Earlier today we received information from the Decatur Police Department about a vague and nonspecific threat to “schools.” The Superintendent and staff worked closely with law enforcement throughout the day, continuously monitoring buildings and grounds, and will do so until our last dismissal time for students (6:15 pm). Police officers investigated the source of the call and swept and patrolled our campuses. It was determined that this was not a credible threat.

(On Monday) morning a small caliber bullet was found at Decatur High School. Administrators conducted a search and no weapons were found. Police officers recovered the bullet and took a found property report.

While these two incidents are concerning, we have no reason to believe they are related. We will continue collaborating with the Decatur Police Department to address such incidents.

The safety of students, staff, and visitors is our highest priority. Our schools regularly practice safety drills including lock down and evacuation procedures. Several schools will be conducting such drills next week, and today Clairemont Elementary School conducted one. This drill was previously scheduled and was not related to these incidents.

If you have questions or concerns, contact your school’s principal.

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