Threat suspects still unaccounted for

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, March 4, 2017

In March 2006, a 12-year-old girl was charged with phoning in a bomb threat that emptied Warren Central Junior High School.

This particular call was the third threat in two days at Warren Central and Vicksburg junior high schools, which are next door to each other, and the fifth evacuation of a local school in five days.

Another student was charged in those incidents.

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In December 2015, a device was discovered at Warren Central Junior High School. The school was evacuated and the device was removed and later detonated by a explosive response team from Clinton.

In that situation, a teenager faced charges of possession of explosive device and having weapons — knives — on school property after the homemade explosive was found and detonated.

In each case, authorities did not have the luxury of knowing the end result. They did not know if the threat was real or a prank. They did not know if lives were at risk, or simply someone was looking for an afternoon thrill.

In every case, Vicksburg Chief of Police Walter Armstrong, said they had to threat the threat as real.

“We treat them all as real. If we find something, we have to call in a bomb squad — as we did at Warren Junior,” Armstrong said. “And then, the school, or business, or whatever it is, is completely out of operation for hours while we work to eliminate the risk.”

In February, two threats were called in on Friday, Feb. 10. One went to the Warren County Courthouse, while the other call was made to Vicksburg High School.

Classes were disrupted as students were evacuated. Officers searched the school, while officials with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department searched areas of the courthouse.

In both cases, nothing was found, and normal businesss — and classes — were restored.

“It upsets the full operation of law enforcement, education, businesses, whatever might be going at the time,” Armstrong said.

As for finding those responsible, they remain unidentified.

“Unfortunately — often times — those calls are made from disconnected cell phones and I hope that there is something in the future that can help track back to those phones,” Armstrong said.

And, what about the next threat?

“We treat them all as real,” he said.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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