GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A juvenile suspect is now in custody after three schools in Goochland County were placed on lockdown on Thursday after receiving threatening text messages.
According to a release from Goochland County Public Schools, one of the staff members at the high school received two text messages from an unknown number around 10:30 a.m. The sender claimed that they had a gun and intended to kill people. The text also stated that they were inside the school building.
“At no time were there any reports or first-hand information from school staff or
students that there were weapons or individuals making threats in the school building,” the release reads.
Upon receiving the texts, Goochland High School leaders immediately informed the assigned School Resource Officer from Goochland County Sheriff’s Office.
Goochland High School and Goochland Middle School were placed on full lockdown shortly thereafter. During the lockdown, students were required to move to a low-visibility area and maintain silence with lights out and doors locked.
Goochland Elementary was not placed on full lockdown, but was placed on “hold,” with students staying inside until law enforcement investigations were complete.
Deputies with the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office and K9 units searched each classroom along with school staff.
“No weapons or contraband were discovered during the searches, and by approximately 1 p.m., deputies and school staff began to escort students to restrooms,” the release from the school division reads. “Lunches were distributed beginning at 1:30 p.m.”
Throughout the investigation, the school division emphasized that there was no active situation and the lockdowns were “due to the language in the text.” According to Andy Armstrong, Interim Superintendent for Goochland County Public Schools, no contraband or weapons were discovered.
The lockdown ended and regular school operations resumed at 3 p.m. and students were dismissed at 3:30 p.m. as usual, according to Goochland County Schools.
Around 11 p.m. on Thursday night, a juvenile suspect was taken into custody for sending the text message threats, according to the Goochland County Sheriff’s Office. According to the school division, the suspect is not a student of Goochland County Public Schools.
“The tireless efforts of our team resulted in the prompt arrest of a suspect, but more importantly, the safety of the students and staff of our schools,” said Goochland County Sheriff Steven Creasey. “We hope this sends a clear message that our county will not tolerate threats or disruptions to anyone, especially the children of Goochland.”
Goochland Middle School and Goochland High School were closed on Friday, May 12, to provide students and staff the opportunity to reset before continued operations on Monday, May 15.
“The strong relationship between our schools and our Sheriff’s Office and our shared commitment to the safety of our students distinguish our work,” Armstrong said. “While I am disturbed and frustrated at the acts of this individual that caused this disruption to our operations, I am proud of our response and appreciate the understanding of our families.”