RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala.- Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says around 8 a.m. Tuesday, the School Resource Officer at Russell County High School heard about a possible weapon at the school. From there, the officer began to investigate.
A short time after, at 8:30 a.m. the Sheriff’s Office got a call saying a student at Smiths Station High School received a text message about a student at Russell County having a gun and possibly intending to do harm. This outside information was given to the SRO at Russell County High School who was hearing other students talk about it and from there, the school decided to go on lockdown.
The school was on lockdown until the suspect was in custody and then it was put on perimeter lockdown, meaning that students could change classes but nobody could come in.
Sheriff’s deputies searched the suspect’s personal belongings, they found nothing, they then went to the suspect’s home to do more searching. Sheriff Taylor says the suspect’s parents searched before sheriff’s deputies got there. While at the home, the father realized his 22 caliber pistol was missing from a safe. Soon after, the suspect admitted to deputies the gun was at school where it was soon recovered.
The suspect is currently being held in Lee County at the juvenile detention center. He is expected to tried as a juvenile, but more investigation could possibly lead him to being tried as an adult.
The lockdown was lifted and parents received a phone call from Principal Ken Britford saying “Good morning parents, this is Ken Britford, principal of Russell County High School. We had a lockdown drill this morning. We know you have received many messages and text messages from your student here with information that has not proved to be true. We have since been given the all clear and students have proceeded to class as usual, thank you.”
Lisa Zani was one of the parents who received the call. She says she was receiving updates from her child in the school, who was told it was only a drill.
Zani was scared about what she was hearing and as a result, she pulled her daughter from school. “I just feel lied to,” Zani said. “A lot of parents feel lied to. If everything was taken care of, the recording should have stated that we did find a gun on the premises, we have taken care of everything, everything is good.”