Columbia County manhunt puts four schools on lockdown

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November 28, 2006

For most of the day, four Columbia County schools were on lockdown after deputies got a report that two men were breaking into cars near South Columbia Elementary School.

Deputies locked that school down, and the Columbia County Board of Education locked down Blue Ridge Elementary, Lakeside Middle, and Lakeside High School as well, due to their proximity to the area.

Concerned parents on the outside were worried about their children on the inside.

While a chopper searched, South Columbia Elementary School in Martinez was locked down, with students, teachers, and even parents locked inside.

When bus driver Carmen Darwin pulled up to the school, she was alarmed.

"They were in a panic when they came out to the buses, and rushing people off buses, you know, unload," she said.

Parents like Shelonda West were shaken by the lockdown. Shelonda waited outside the school after trying to get in.

"I have two children in this school, Desmond and Diamond Hicks, 3rd and 4th grade. I want to know how they are doing," she told us.

"They are scared," said parent Stephanie Narcovsky of her own children. "I know they are scared."

It all started after deputies got a call that two men were breaking into cars in this neighborhood near the school. Deputies, tracking dogs, and even a helicopter were called to the scene.

Officers say the man they are looking for is not armed.

"What my concern is, if this guy is not armed, why is all of this commotion going on?" Stephanie said.

"A SWAT Team, a helicopter...I need to know how my children are doing," Shelonda said.

"I'm okay," said parent Karen Mann. "I don't think they are in any danger. That's not the point. You just want to comfort your child."

One suspect is in custody. Columbia County investigators are not releasing his name.

The other man remains on the loose. Officers are looking for a tall, thin, black male, with a goatee and a small to medium afro. He was last seen wearing black sweatpants with a black hooded sweatshirt.