Possible drive-by shooting leads to lockdown at Lovejoy High School

By Ed Brock

A phoned-in threat about a possible drive-by shooting led to a lockdown at Lovejoy High School.

Around 8:15 a.m. somebody called 911 from a cell phone and said that a group of males in a black BMW would make the attack at the school around 10 a.m., Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

"Of course we saturated the area with officers," Turner said.

There was no shooting at the school, but officers again turned out at the various entries to the school around 3:20 p.m. as the students prepared to leave.

Coming out of the school at that time, Rebecca Gaters of Jonesboro was wondering what had happened. Her ward, 16-year-old Ranaujua Bonner, is a junior at the school and the note she was bringing home with her from school administrators gave few details.

"They had us on lock down in first period. They didn't tell us anything," Bonner said. "The teachers didn't even know what was going on."

Gaters said the news of the lock down was scary.

Many students seemed unconcerned by the lockdown as they left school on Tuesday.

"It wasn't anything major," one girl said.

A 15-year-old sophomore said she wasn't particularly scared by the lockdown, but she also said she wasn't told why it was being done.

"They just kept us in first period for a long time," she said.

Seeing police officers in the hallways made another 15-year-old uneasy.

"I was in the hallway and they told me to stop and go back into the classroom," she said.

Both said they didn't receive letters about the incident.

School officials did not return several phone calls seeking comment on the lockdown.

Turner said police are trying to get a lock on the cell phone number from which the call was made.

On Aug. 17 somebody made a call about a bomb at the county's Alternative School that also turned out to be false, Turner said. The county receives many such phone calls, especially in the springtime.

"Everybody has spring fever and doesn't want to be in school," Turner said. "Of course we take all the situations seriously. If an arrest is affected the suspect will be prosecuted accordingly."

Someone calling in a threat to a school can be charged with the felony charges making a false public alarm or making terrorist threats.

The sentence for those charges could include no less than one year and no more than five years in prison and/or a fine of not less than a $1,000.