WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Additional law enforcement officers were at Lebanon High School on Thursday as a precautionary measure following Wednesday’s off-campus incidents involving members of the student body.
According to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, a group of Lebanon High School students were involved in an off-campus fight on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
The Lebanon Police Department quickly responded to the incident, but as officers arrived, the crowd quickly dispersed, officials said.
A short time later, police reportedly responded to a shots fired call in the Franklin Road area of the Weatherly Estates subdivision, which led to the discovery of a vehicle that had been hit by gunfire. However, nobody was injured.
The Lebanon Police Department said the investigation into the shooting resulted in detectives tracking down a potential suspect vehicle at the registered owner’s address.
Not only did police find evidence inside the vehicle, but while they were speaking with the people at the home, a 17-year-old boy allegedly admitted to the shooting.
Even though the teen was arrested and charged with five counts of felony aggravated assault, authorities said they would continue investigating the incident in order to identify everyone involved.
Then, on Thursday, Jan. 26, officials announced the additional police presence at Lebanon High School, describing it as a proactive measure to prevent any spillover from the off-campus incidents, and confirmed there had not been any direct threat toward the school or anybody placed in imminent danger.
The Lebanon Police Department shared the following statement, which was sent by Lebanon High School’s principal, in order to explain the presence of law enforcement:
This message is for all Lebanon High School families. There are several rumors cirulating among the student body right now about being on a lock down and threats and a possible firearm in the building. None of those rumors are accurate. We are investigating any potential threat that may be circulating due to the rumors. If there were any legitimate threat or security issue, you would hear it from the school immediately.
Please encourage your child to be careful about spreading or starting misinformation on social media. There is accountability for those that contribute to inciting disruption by spreading unfounded rumors. Please contact me directly if you have important information that may indicate any danger to our students. All students are safe and in class.
Thank you for your support.
Scott Walters, Principal”
Thursday afternoon, police provided an update on the situation, saying that investigators found out a vehicle matching the description of another possible suspect from the shooting was located across the street from the high school. Once the Explosives/Gun Powder K9 Team made a positive indication, the vehicle was secured for additional investigation.
Meanwhile, a male was seen walking close to Hartmann Drive during school hours, but when officers tried to approach him to find out the reason for his presence, he refused to comply with their requests and was temporarily taken into custody, according to police.
It turned out the male had been asked to leave the school for disciplinary reasons, so he was reportedly released to a family member.
Authorities said that they will continue to have an additional presence at Lebanon High School as they see fit in order to “deter any rumors that have circulated” from Wednesday night.
“Any threat will not be tolerated, jokingly or intentionally, that arises in any of our schools and will be dealt with accordingly,” the sheriff’s office posted on social media Thursday morning. “School safety always remains a top priority in maintaining a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff.”
The Lebanon Police Department also released a statement on Facebook about Wednesday’s off-campus incidents, as well as Thursday’s police presence, which said, in part:
“To clarify, AT NO TIME had the Lebanon Police Department been advised or had it been reported that a firearm was involved or seen on campus of LHS. We have monitored the comment section of our social media and have notice comments that have indicated ‘firsthand accounts’ of seeing a weapon. We are in the process of vetting those comments, we will also be making personal contact with those who have indicated the presence of weapons.
In closing, The Wilson County Sheriffs Office provides security and safety to our school system at an exemplary level. In fact, today is a prime example of the commitment the WCSO puts forth in the effort to make sure that our children are in a safe environment. We would also add that our Wilson County School District has always been cooperative with our officers/detectives, should we have business that involves the student body, in reference to incidents that have occurred off campus.
And finally, please be aware that not everything posted on social media is accurate and sometimes may have nefarious intent. It is our commitment to notify the public as to any information that we can, as we can. However, commenting on investigations as they are underway are at times difficult. As a parent of a child in our Wilson County school system, I am thankful for the efforts that are in place daily and especially for the actions taken by those who protect our children like they have the past 2 days.”Lebanon Police Chief Mike Justice