Soft lockdown lifted from city schoolsPublished 9:41am Thursday, August 21, 2014
A “soft lockdown” of all Elizabethton City Schools will be lifted today after an Elizabethton Police Department investigation found no credible evidence to support a threat.
“We do not want the people of Elizabethton to worry about sending their children to school,” EPD Chief Greg Workman said. “There is no threat.”
ECS Superintendent Ed Alexander said the lockdown was put in place at all five of the city’s schools shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Based on information from “outside our school-site environments, the ECS administration felt it was prudent to issue a soft lockdown order for our five school sites,” Alexander said. “This was entirely a precautionary step, requiring that students at those sites remain indoors, with all learning activities proceeding in a normal mode.”
Alexander said administrators were sent to the schools at the end of the day Wednesday to observe the dismissal of students. “It is a simple precaution to make sure nothing serious happened. We will do what it takes to make sure the children are safe.
“Be assured that the safety of our children is absolutely paramount for those of us who are charged with the safety of our system’s most valuable product,” he added.
Workman said the issue stemmed from a reported threat against the pastor of East River Park Christian Church. However, after talking to the potential suspect and completing a consent search of his home, Workman said no evidence could be found to support the claim of the threat.
Workman said there had been a “spat” between that individual and members of the church. Another person later reported seeing the man involved in the disagreement with dynamite.
“It was not a credible report that the man had explosives,” Workman said. “There was no credible evidence he had explosives and he did not make any statements that he would be using explosives. Someone with a mental illness said they saw him with dynamite. That was not corroborated.”
Because of the early claims that explosives may have been involved, the EPD had to notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were involved with the search as well as the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
Workman said no names would be released until after the preliminary search results were further analyzed to determine whether charges would be filed in the case. He added a press release and police report would be released today.