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Possible tragedy averted at WEMS

  • 22 February 2018
  • Author: Dan McNiel
  • Number of views: 1005
Possible tragedy averted at WEMS

WALLACE -- A vigilant Wallace Elementary/Middle student prevented a possible tragedy Tuesday after overhearing a threat made by a fellow student.
A 14-year-old Wallace Elementary/Middle School student was arrested by Marlboro County Sheriff’s deputies and charged with disturbing the school and threatening the life of a public official.
Capt. Sara Albarri of the  Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office said another student had overheard the 14-year-old make threats last Thursday and told a school staff member Tuesday morning.
“He or she could have possibly saved some lives at the school,” Albarri said.
Deputies responded to the school and intercepted the student. The student was searched with no weapons found.
Lt. Trevor Murphy said the student had drawn a picture depicting what his plans were for attacking people at the school.
“His picture identified certain specific targets in the school-- students and faculty,” Murphy said.
Officials said there were both personal and school-related factors that contributed to the threat.
Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office has increased its presence in schools throughout the county.
“We are reaching out to administration to open up a dialogue between law enforcement and the schools,” Murphy said.
He added they wanted to have safety plans in place and other proactive measures to prevent something from happening in the county.
Murphy and Albarri encouraged students to “hear something, say something.”
Murphy noted the student who reported the threat does not know how many lives he or she saved.
“This student saved the lives of other children, faculty, staff and other law enforcement,” he said. “It kept us from experiencing a definite tragedy.”
Department of Social Services and Department of Juvenile Justice was notified.
The student has been taken to DJJ for a mental health evaluation in Columbia.
Wednesday, Bennettsville Police investigated a possible threat at Marlboro County High School.  A student was questioned off-campus in association to statements made earlier that were interpreted as possible threats of violence.
There was an increased police presence at the school as a precaution.

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