UPDATE (May 31, 2:57 p.m.) Two additional students were arrested this morning in connection to the Salem High vandalism incident last week. Alexander Sibert, 18, and Jordan Daniel Legree, 18, have both been charged with burglary and are currently being held at the Rockdale County Jail on $15,000 bonds.This makes a total of nine students arrested in the investigation. However, more warrants may be taken as the investigation continues, according to Rockdale County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Jodi Shupe. ------------------------ (May 29, 10:53 a.m.) The seventh student identified in initial investigations of the Salem vandalism incident has been arrested.
Tiji Rivers, 18 years old, was charged with Burglary and is currently being held at the Rockdale County Jail.
More warrants are expected to be taken out on Tuesday, according to Rockdale County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Jodi Shupe.
(May 28, 7:33 p.m.) The names of the six students arrested and charged with burglary for the vandalism incident at Salem High School have been released by the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. One student has yet to turn himself in. The bond for each student was set at $15,000.
The students arrested so far are:
- Mitchell Billingsley, 18 years old. Released on bond
- Jeremy Lawrence, 18 years old. Remains in Jail
- Joshua Muse, 17 years old. Released on bond
- Kent Shipman, 18 years old. Remains in Jail
- Tyone Elliot, 19 years old. Released on bond
- Breon Prad, 18 years old. Released on bond
(May 27, 12:16 p.m.) Six of the seven students with warrants for burglary felony related to the vandalism at Salem High School discovered Monday morning have turned themselves in, according to the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office. The seventh student has retained an attorney but will have until today to turn himself in before being tracked down, said RCSO spokesperson Jodi Shupe.
The seven with warrants against them are the ones that investigators identified as having done the destruction, said Shupe. However, there may be subsequent warrants and arrests.
"As we're conducting interviews, we're getting more information," she said. "We plan to prosecute everybody that was involved."
The incident began with a chain text message that was sent out to a group of students with a message to be at the school at a certain time, said Shupe. About 60-70 students showed up, according to interviews.
Shupe said some students "were under the assumption they were going to toilet paper the school. Once they saw there were others checking the doors and saying we're going to get into the school," those students left.
One of the school doors was found to be unlocked and the alarm system was not set. Damage inside included spray painting on the walls, including gang names, damage to the video security system, and holes punched in the walls. "It was mass destruction," said Shupe.
"It wasn't an organized gang event," said Shupe. "There were a few gang slurs on the wall, but there’s not enough of the element in the criminal code to" bring a gang-related charge. The students that painted the gang names on the walls may not have been gang members either, she said.
"I think it honestly started out as a senior prank," she said, "and they took it too far. Luckily the smart ones saw that it was going too far and left."
Last year a senior prank at Heritage involved painting on the field house wall, but students the school system did not choose to prosecute it criminally, said Shupe.
"When it goes to where they’re destroying government property, that's when it becomes criminal."
(May 23, 10:50 p.m.) Rockdale County Sheriff's Office investigators are taking out warrants for burglary against seven students believed to be involved in the vandalism at Salem High School that was discovered Monday morning, according to RCSO spokesperson Jodi Shupe. The names of the seven students will not be released until they've turned themselves in, said Shupe.
Those students have been suspended from school and will not be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies, according to RCPS spokesperson Cindy Ball.
(May 23, 3:08 p.m.) Vandals caused at least an estimated $40,000 worth of damage at Salem High School in an incident that is currently under investigation.
According to Rockdale County Public Schools spokesperson Cindy Ball, that damage included two destroyed vending machines, damage to the school's security system, tractor tires from the fieldhouse into the common area of the school, cafeteria table moved outside and painted, graffiti in chalk and paint on brick walls along with egging in the hallways, silly string, and toilet paper in trees.
"We understand this is a high energy week," said Ball. "Students are excited about graduation. We do want to make sure all our students have a great graduation coming up and everyone acts accordingly so that everyone enjoys that moment."
(May 23, 11:33 a.m.) Students were reportedly greeted Monday morning at Salem High School with toilet paper in trees, vending machines damaged, administrative offices broken into, the inside of the building egged, and furniture removed in what was might have been a senior prank gone awry, according to parents of students.
The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office is investigating the matter as a burglary and vandalism incident and following up on leads, according to RCSO Lt. Mike Sellers. No arrests have been made.
Check back to www.rockdalenews.com for more on this developing story.