Threat forces Carroll lockdown

Pay phone caller said he'd `shoot up' Century High School

October 12, 2007|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,Sun Reporter

Maryland State Police are looking for a person who made a phone call threatening to "shoot up" a Carroll County high school yesterday, prompting a countywide school lockdown for nearly three hours.

State troopers, with help from the county sheriff's office, were dispatched throughout the county in response to the threat, searching and securing campuses, state police said.

Police were to remain at all schools until 4 p.m., said Sgt. Arthur Betts of the state police. An increased police presence is also expected at schools in South Carroll today.

The incident occurred one day after a Cleveland high school shooting in which a student wounded at least four others in the school before killing himself.

On Wednesday, there was a potential threat to a high school in Plymouth Township, Pa., where authorities were tipped off to possible plans for a Columbine-type shooting, according to news reports.

The call in Carroll was made to the county's emergency operations center about 10 a.m. from a pay phone at the Londontown shopping center in Eldersburg, Betts said.

The caller said something along the lines of "I'm going to shoot up Century High School," Betts said, and hung up.

State police were immediately notified, Betts said, and troopers were dispatched to Century High in the Winfield area.

"Nothing should be treated as a hoax because you never know the seriousness of a matter," Betts said.

All schools in the southern part of the county were locked down, Betts said. School officials then extended the lockdown to all schools, including Carroll Community College. It was lifted after 1 p.m., when state police advised the school system to return to its regular "code yellow" security level.

Century was searched twice, Betts said. State police cars were still stationed at parking lot entrances yesterday afternoon.

Police questioned two people -- one a Century student -- in connection with the incident, Detective Sgt. Chuck Moore said.

The student had an "unspecified absence" yesterday, Betts said. He then appeared at the high school after police had arrived.

When he couldn't get inside because of the lockdown, Betts said, the student and another man went to South Carroll High School, about four miles from Century. There, they were taken in for questioning at the Westminster barracks.

Both were released without being charged yesterday, Moore said.

arin.gencer@baltsun.com

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