• 72°

Wilcox County High School threat prevented

WILCOX COUNTY– On March 7, 2018 at approximately 4 p.m., Rochelle Police Chief Mickey Barfield received a call from Wilcox County High School Principal Chad Davis in reference to a possible threat at the school.

Upon arrival at the school, Chief Barfield contacted Julie Childers, School Superintendent and Chad Davis, school Principal about the issue. Chief Barfield was advised that a student had posted several picture slides with wording about several other students dying. Principal Davis stated that the student had used a notebook computer at the school to post these slides on a group project that this student was a part of. Superintendent Childers stated that the student’s password and name was used to access this work project and that is how the school officials were able to determine what student posted the threats.

Principal Davis had the student in his office when Chief Barfield arrived at the school and the student’s mother

officials present and advised Superintendent Childers that a criminal investigation would be conducted and continued to gather all evidence secured by the school’s computer specialist. Chief Barfield advised the school officials that since mention was made in the slides about the school function that evening at the baseball field, numerous officers would be present at the function. While Chief Barfield was still at the school, it was determined that at no time was any student, school staff or citizen in any danger of receiving any harm from this incident. Chief Barfield said that there were no weapons of any kind involved in this threat, that the threat was generated on the computer only.

Chief Barfield stated that the student was transported to the police department by Rochelle police officers and the student’s parents were requested to follow the officers to the police department. Chief Barfield stated that upon his discussing the incident with Wilcox County Sheriff Robert Rogers it was agreed that several Rochelle officers, several Wilcox County deputies and a K9 officer from Dooly County Sheriff’s Office would attend the function at the baseball field in Rochelle due to the mention of this function in the threat slides. Uniformed officers, plain clothes officers and two K9 officers were at the school function on the baseball field ensuring that the crowd present was safe.

Chief Barfield continued the investigation of this incident by interviewing the parents of the student and the student at the police department. During the investigation interview, Chief Barfield stated that the student did admit to putting the slide threats on the school computer and did do it alone without anyone else knowing about it. Upon closing the interview with the parents and the student, Chief Barfield arrested the student and charges of Terroristic Threats and acts and Dissemination of Information relating to Terroristic Threats through a computer were placed against the student. Since the student was a juvenile, Chief Barfield contacted the Department of Juvenile Justice as mandated by law and advised the Juvenile Officer of the incident, arrest and charges. The Juvenile Officer advised Chief Barfield to release the student to the parents and advise the parents and student not to have any contact with anyone at the school, no use of any social media devices and not to return to school until this matter is completed. Chief Barfield also talked to Superintendent Childers and advised her of the findings of the interview and she advised Chief Barfield to advise the parents and the student not to return to school campus or any school function as the student is suspended until a Tribunal Hearing by the school can be conducted.

Chief Barfield advised that he wanted to extend his appreciation to the Wilcox County school officials for their quick response to handle this incident, for calling in law enforcement as quick as possible and the work they did to generate all the evidence in this case. Chief Barfield advised that he also wanted to thank Sheriff Rogers and his deputies for their assistance and commitment to the children, school staff and citizens of Wilcox County.

Chief Barfield said that working together with all involved in this incident is how we were able to find this threat, investigate this threat and control this threat to the point of making an arrest and ensuring the citizens, school students and staff that we will work tirelessly to serve and protect our community, citizens, school students and staff.