By Rachel Shirey
JONESBORO - Clayton County residents joined the nation in their shock over the mass school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday.
Clayton County Schools spokesman David Waller said local schools are taking precautions following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left almost 30 people killed, including 20 children.
Waller said the Clayton County school system is on heightened alert, but school officials feel good about their safety.
“We have no reason to suspect that this will directly affect our school system,” Waller said.
However, Waller said they are prepared if a copy-cat does attempt to enter the school through their nationally recognized security system.
Only one door is left unlocked to the public and it is monitored by security cameras. Visitors must be buzzed in to be allowed entrance into the school office.
Likewise, Henry County Schools spokesman J.D. Hardin said the Henry school district stays on top of safety protocols and procedures.
"We work just as hard every day to ensure our student's safety as we do to educate them," he said.
According to Reuters, a heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff Friday morning in the latest series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States.
The suspected shooter was identified as Adam Lanza, 20, and was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest, according to reports.
Lanza was found dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, said Connecticut state police Lieutenant Paul Vance at a news conference.
If confirmed, it would be one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. History, Reuters reported.
Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots with some saying as many as 100 were fired.
“It was horrendous,” said parent Brenda Lebinski in a report to Reuters that detailed how she rushed to the school where her daughter is in the third grade. “Everyone was in hysterics — parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don’t know if they were shot, but they were bloodied.”
Another person was being held in police custody after he was detained in the woods near the school wearing camouflage pants, according to reports.
Newton, with a population of 27,000, is in northern Fairfield County, about 45 miles southwest of Hartford and 80 miles northeast of New York City.
Reuters reported the United States has experienced a number of mass shooting rampages this year.
The deadliest came in July at a midnight screening of Batman film in Colorado that killed 12 people and wounded 58.
The worst high school shooting happened in 1999 when two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 students and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves.
In 2007, 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech university in the deadliest act of gun violence in U.S. history.
Henry Daily Herald reporter Johnny Jackson contributed to this report.