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Scare Proves Unfounded

By Staff | Apr 8, 2009

A report of an armed man in the area of Magnolia High School on Wednesday forced officials to lock the school down.

And though the claim was unfounded, Wetzel County Sheriff James Hoskins is pleased the error was made on the side of caution. Hoskins said the Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department received a report at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday of a man in the school area carrying a rifle.

The New Martinsville Police Department also responded, and the area was searched. No one was permitted in or out of the school for about two hours until it was determined there was no danger.

“The caller saw a male in his 40’s with white garbage bags and a rifle,” Hoskins said. “We searched the interior of the school in case someone gained entry. We searched streets and interviewed witnesses. We found some people who fit that description, but we couldn’t find a threat. There was someone else who said they saw someone, but they didn’t remember seeing a weapon.” Hoskins said the report received was not an April Fool’s joke or prank.

He said the person who made the call is credible. The sheriff said students, faculty and emergency responders reacted well to the situation.

“It came from a credible witness, and the statement was taken seriously,” Hoskins said. “We appreciate it when people report something they believe to be suspicious. I would prefer they call rather than not call. The school responded well, and everyone worked well together to make sure everyone was safe. The kids seem to be fine and did what was asked of them. They did well, and I’m glad it wasn’t an actual threat.”