COVINGTON, Ga. — A Union City man was charged with making terroristic threats after a telephone call that put Newton High School on lockdown for most of the day.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Office said 17-year-old Kishon Lee was arrested Tuesday, hours after his alleged call of a bomb threat to the school office. Lee was charged with terroristic threats and acts, stalking and disrupting public school.
The call came in at 8:59 a.m. School leaders notified the Sheriff’s Office and the Newton County School System.
Deputies and school administrators searched the school and found no threatening devices. Meanwhile, sheriff’s investigators looked into the source of the threat and quickly identified a suspect.
“We do not look at threats as pranks or adolescent activity,” Sheriff Ezell Brown said in a news release.
“We always take any threats against our schools very serious, which will result in serious consequences.”
Lee allegedly made the threat in a phone call then hung up the phone. The school receptionist wrote the number down from Caller ID, and when the suspect called a second time, he asked for personal information about a female student and was put on hold.
Principal Shannon Buff then picked up the phone, identified herself and spoke with the offender, who allegedly told her if she did not give him the information he wanted, he would “come and shoot up the school,” according to a Newton County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Buff then put the school on lockdown, at which point the NHS administrative team and deputies swept the building for any devices that might be a threat.
Their search didn’t turn up anything.
The school system said Tuesday’s threat showed why all such incidents must be taken seriously.
“Nine times out of 10, threats like the one received today are not credible; today the threat was real,” Newton County School System public relations director Sherri Davis said.
“The safety of our students and staff is our number one concern and we appreciate the Newton County Sheriff’s office for their quick response and support throughout the day.”
The student whom the caller asked about was interviewed. She suspected the caller was an old acquaintance who had been stalking and threatening her family for about three years. A deputy spoke to the student’s mother, who gave the suspect’s mother’s contact information to the Sheriff’s Office.
The girl’s mother said Lee had been contacting her and her family on social media with threats.
Lee was identified as a student at Creekside High School in Fairburn, in the Fulton County School System. The Sheriff’s Office said Lee had been out of school for several days.
Davis said schools practice lockdown drills throughout the year to prepare for days like Tuesday.
“The students, staff and administrators at Newton High School knew exactly what to do and handled the situation very well,” she said. “We know that parents were anxious and concerned for their students and we appreciate them for their patience and cooperation during the lockdown.”