HCSO probes indirect threat

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WINTON – Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes has a case under investigation involving an indirect threat made against the local public school system.

Hayes said his office was informed on Tuesday by Dr. William Wright, Superintendent of Hertford County Public Schools, of a message posted on social media. As a result of the information shared, local law enforcement, assisted by the SBI, were able to interview a 14-year-old juvenile in reference to the disturbing message.

Hayes said the message read: “Hertford County shooting Thursday (expletive deleted)….ya’ll kids still going; ya’ll kids record it if you’re in school.”

The Sheriff stated that a member of the Hertford County Board of Education forwarded that message to Dr. Wright, apparently after a parent of a school-age student made the school board member aware of the post.

“We sent members of our (Down East) Task Force and the SBI to interview the juvenile, who was in the presence of their mother at the time of the interview,” Hayes said. “What we learned from that interview is that the juvenile was not the individual who originally posted the message; instead, they re-posted it on their social media page.

“This is not a case of a direct threat, but we are still in the process of reviewing all the information we have at this time and the juvenile may face a Class II misdemeanor if we decide to file a juvenile petition,” Hayes added. “We’re not taking this case lightly, especially with all that’s transpired in our nation recently, to include other direct threats made against schools up in Virginia. These are very trying times.”

The Sheriff stated that his office is still investigating this case in an attempt to determine the source of the original post.

In the meantime, Hayes encouraged students and their parents to be vigilant to such messages.

“As a student, if you overhear a classmate making disturbing comments about possibly bringing a weapon to school; and as a parent, if you hear something or see disturbing messages on your child’s phone, please contact your nearest law enforcement agency,” Hayes stressed.

Hayes said he and his officers are working closely with Dr. Wright, his staff, and the principals at all schools in the county, to include Ridgecroft School, in an effort to guarantee the safety of the students, teachers and administrators.

Meanwhile, Gates County Superintendent Dr. Barry Williams confirmed that all public schools there were placed on lockdown Monday. That was in connection with a general threat made against Pasquotank County Public Schools. That threat also mentioned Chowan County and Gates County schools.

Williams said a juvenile from Virginia was detained in that incident.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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