Photo by Jim Massara
Flanked by a CNN cameraman and a Clayton County Police cruiser, a student from Lovejoy High School boards his school bus in Hampton’s Greystone subdivision.
Hampton area students rode the bus to school for the last time this school year under the watchful eye of police and media Friday morning, while a would-be sniper remained at large.
Most buses were escorted by Clayton County police and sheriff’s cars. Police cars and other, unmarked, law-enforcement vehicles cruised through the Greystone subdivision, while a Clayton County police van loomed in the parking lot of the subdivision’s club house and a Clayton police helicopter flew overhead.
All the attention came in response to a 911 report Monday of an unidentified male seen pointing a rifle at a Clayton County school bus on Palladin Drive in Greystone. When the caller shouted at the male, he ran, leaving behind the rifle and a piece of paper with school-bus numbers written on it. No shots were fired at the bus.
Since then, dozens of Clayton police officers have shadowed school buses and scoured the area for leads.
In fact, between 7 a.m., and 8 a.m., when most buses left the subdivision, there were more police cars on the street than there were civilian vehicles. News crews from CNN and CBS Atlanta were also present.
Clayton County police spokesman Phong Nguyen said he’s had to field media queries about the report “about every 30 minutes,” with calls coming from outlets as varied as “Good Morning America” and “Fox & Friends.”
Lovejoy High School student Sheldon Campbell said he’d never seen so many police cars — or reporters — in his neighborhood before. He also said he and fellow students are taking the matter with a grain of salt by now.
“They’re making jokes about it. It’s no big deal,” Campbell said, raising his voice to compete with helicopter noise overhead while walking to his bus stop. “We just want to get out of school and enjoy the summertime.”