A Carroll County man was taken into custody Wednesday on suspicion of threatening to shoot up a school.
The suspect had not been charged as of press time on Thursday morning, and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office had not released his name. Sheriff Kevin Kemp said the investigation is ongoing.
According to police reports, a video threatening a school shooting was posted on the social media platform TikTok under the suspect’s account. Galax Police Chief DeWitt Cooper said the video mentioned kidnapping or killing kids.
The video did not specify which school was being targeted, but the owner of the TikTok account was traced to this area, which prompted the local precautions.
The Fusion Center — a collaborative agency among federal, state and local law enforcement — sent an alert to police in the Twin Counties on Nov. 16. Galax, Carroll County and Grayson County school systems were placed on “soft lockdown,” wherein students were kept inside locked classrooms but lessons continued.
“It was just very generic,” said Galax Schools Superintendent Susan Tilley of the threat. “It could have been any school anywhere,” but the fact that video appears to have originated in the Twin Counties caused concern.
“We went to all known addresses for that person,” Cooper told The Gazette, referring to the suspect. All of the addresses were in Carroll County.
The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office located the man and took him into custody around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Reacting to news of the incident on social media, many local parents expressed concern that they received no notification from schools about the threat or lockdown until it was over. Complicating the issue was a U.S. Cellular system outage at the time of the incident.
• We will have more information on this story as it develops. See upcoming issues of The Gazette and galaxgazette.com.