By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Escambia County High School student was taken into custody last Friday, September 16, after he had what turned out to be a BB gun in his backpack.
Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said several lawmen were already at the school due to a homecoming pep rally and other homecoming events that were being conducted. The presence allowed authorities to quickly and quietly quell the situation.
“We received a report that there was a student at the high school armed with a firearm,” the sheriff said. “Deputies, as well as School Resource Officers and Atmore police, were already on the scene due to homecoming activities.”
The school was immediately locked down, and an alert was sent out by school officials, prompting a response from several local and area law enforcement agencies.
The student was located and taken from a classroom, the weapon was recovered, and the incident was over within minutes.
“(Officers) went straight to the room where the student was, removed him, searched his backpack and found what appeared to be a firearm,” the sheriff said. “It was actually a BB gun that didn’t have any markings to indicate it might be a BB gun; it looked just like a regular firearm.”
The student was taken into custody without further incident. He will be charged and taken to an unspecified juvenile detention center, Jackson added.
County school officials posted on the system’s Facebook page shortly after 10 a.m. that, “all students are safe and accounted for,” and that “normal operation of the school has resumed.”
The sheriff confirmed that statement and praised the quick response of everyone involved.
“Nobody was hurt, and we had a great response from Atmore Police Department, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Drug Task Force and all local officials, including the school board,” he said.
Scotty Flowers, an ECHS alumnus who was attending the annual alumni tea, admitted that the incident was a little out of the ordinary.
“It’s weird,” he said. “You come to a 40-year reunion and get put in lockdown.”
Yteria Dortch put a different spin on things.
“Kids will do anything these days,” she said. “It makes you want to homeschool your kids. It’s just crazy.”