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Law enforcement addressing threats made at two CSRA high schools

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:26 PM EST
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HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re following investigations into threats made against two different high schools in two different counties.

Meanwhile, Burke County High School closed Friday out of precaution after the school received two threats in the last few days. The most recent came in an email warning the principal of a plan to shoot up the school Friday. The school has already increased campus security while they investigated threats made against the school on the social media app Yik Yak earlier this week.

Security was bumped up Friday at Hephzibah High School after someone found a shooting threat scribbled on a bathroom wall Thursday afternoon. The Richmond County School District releasing a statement asking parents to talk to their kids about the importance of school safety and the appropriateness of their actions. There is an anonymous tip line if you have any information: 706-828-1077.

In Burke County

Authorities have heightened security and increased the law enforcement presence at every school and are taking other steps to keep the community safe.

The first goal is tracking down who sent the email.

“We are trying to run down the IP address to find out the origin of the email, and hopefully that will help us find the person or persons responsible,” said Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams.

Other agencies including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Emergency Management Agency and even the FBI are working alongside the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

“We have called in our state and federal partners to help us identify leads and to rundown those leads,” said Williams.

They are not taking the threat lightly. The sheriff says there will be consequences once they find who is responsible.

“This is not a joke; it’s not a game. When we find the culprit, we are going to charge him or her or them and we’re going to bring down the full force of the law upon them,” he said.

While they continue to investigate, he says the community can play a role by trusting the department and being cautious on social media.

“We really need the public’s help, to not overreact, to not panic, to not spread rumors on Facebook but to allow the professionals to use the resources that we have to ensure the safety of our students,” said Williams.

There’s not a definite timeline of when the case will be solved, but everyone’s safety is authorities’ first priority.

“We are going to continue to ensure the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community as long as necessary,” Williams said.

Williams’ agency is offering a $2,500 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest in this case. We reached out to the GBI for information on this case and to find out just how often threats are made in schools here in the river region. We’re still waiting to hear back.

In Richmond County

Security is being bumped up at Hephzibah High School after a shooting threat was found scribbled on a bathroom wall.

The threat was found just after students were dismissed from school on Thursday. The Richmond County school system is investigating and has requested additional resources officers to be on campus, out of an abundance of caution.

“Please take this opportunity to speak to your student about the importance of school safety and the appropriateness of their actions,” school district spokeswoman Lynthia Ross said in a statement to parents.

The school system does have an anonymous tip line that anyone can use to address safety concerns at 706-828-1077.

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