CCSO investigating report of threats by CHS student

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Investigators with the Carter County Sheriff’s Office are investigating reports of threatening comments allegedly made by a student at Cloudland High School over the weekend.

Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford confirmed Tuesday morning that his department is investigating the reports which circulated through social media websites.

“It’s social media gossip. We are taking it very seriously,” Lunceford said. “There was never any danger. Nothing has been substantiated.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lunceford said the comments were made over the weekend and his department has been looking into the incident for two days now. He said his department has been working closely with Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward and officers have visited and checked the school.

Authorities were able to identify the student involved and have spoken with the student and the family.

“We’ve actually taken the cell phone from the individual, and we are getting ready to rip the phone right now with the parents’ permission,” Lunceford said, adding investigators will be able to obtain messages sent from the phone as well as any other information stored in the device. “We have that capability in-house. My IT Unit is getting ready to rip it.”

Lunceford said his department is not ready to release any additional information about the nature of the comments allegedly made by the student or the names of anyone involved. The investigation is still ongoing at this time, he said.

“At this point, I would say it’s 98 percent social media gossip,” Lunceford said. “We will have to investigate everything.”

According to Lunceford, the incident that happened over the weekend grew as people shared the information over social media. Lunceford said anyone hearing a potential threat should report it to the proper individuals instead of passing it on social media platforms.

“Any time you hear something, no matter how silly it may seem, report it, but report it to someone in authority like a parent, teacher, or an officer,” Lunceford said. “But don’t repeat it on a social media site. Once that starts, things get twisted as they tend to do when things get repeated.”

Lunceford said as reports of the comments allegedly made by the student circulated the story would change with details being added or altered. Those changes can make it hard for officers investigating such incidents to track down who actually said what, Lunceford said.

“We have to go look at everything, no matter how frivolous,” Lunceford said. “Don’t repeat what you hear or what you see on social media. It causes a tremendous amount of man hours unnecessarily.”

Anyone who sees or hears of a threat is urged to report it to their parents, school authorities, or law enforcement officers by calling 911.

“They can even call me,” Lunceford said, adding anyone wanting to report a threat can reach him at 423-213-3069.

Tips can also be sent to the Sheriff’s Office through their website at