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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
jthompson@johnsoncitypress.com
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Lockdown lifted after police say bomb rumors all smoke, no fire

August 21st, 2014 9:18 pm by John Thompson

Lockdown lifted after police say bomb rumors all smoke, no fire

ELIZABETHTON — Chief of Police Greg Workman said Thursday that after an extensive investigation, his department found there was “no legitimate threat” to Elizabethton City Schools after the schools were on a “soft” lockdown for most of the day Wednesday after rumors began spreading about explosives placed in one of the schools.

The Elizabethton Police Department began an investigation and provided extra security around the schools, Workman said.

“All the information we had was based on third-party conversations,” Workman said. Investigators began following the leads and were able to determine there was not a credible threat. Because of the first reports of explosives, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was notified. Workman said the bureau was later told there was no threat.

School Superintendent Ed Alexander told school board members that the lockdown was ordered “based on the unusual behaviors of a parent (outside our school-site environments).” He said the lockdown extended to all five of the system’s schools. A soft lockdown means students must remain inside the buildings. Alexander said besides this inconvenience, there was no other disruption and classes were conducted as usual.

“This was an entirely precautionary step,” Alexander said.

Alexander said the suspect in the investigation immediately offered to let officers search his property when he was confronted by investigators. Nothing was found and no charges were placed in the incident.

“Our administrators worked closely ... in concert with Chief Workman and all the Elizabethton Police Department officers ... to ensure that there is absolutely no threat or risk for our students and staff members,” Alexander told the school board members by email Wednesday evening.

He said security was especially beefed up for dismissals and arrivals.

“Please be assured that the safety of our children is absolutely paramount,” Alexander said.

Workman agreed. “Anytime we get a complaint like that, we must act on it,” he said.

“It is so much better to err on the side of caution,” Alexander said.

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