Student Tip Leads Authorities To Alleged 'Hit List' At SW Edgecombe H.S.
Posted February 26, 2002 1:59 a.m. EST
EDGECOMBE COUNTY, N.C. — A student at Southwest Edgecombe High School is getting high marks for speaking out about a potential act of violence at school.
Investigators said that the teen tipped off deputies to two students who had written a "hit list" that included the names of some students and faculty at the high school.
The student, who overheard the conversation at school, told his or her parents. Sunday night, the parents alerted the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office about the potential for trouble.
A 15-year-old boy, who deputies picked up at his home around 3 a.m. Monday, is being detained. A 17-year-old girl was picked up later for questioning. Deputies also found evidence at the suspects' homes.
Sheriff James Knight said that the two students will be charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and disorderly conduct.
While details of the list are not being released, officials said that the danger was there.
"As far as the list was concerned, it by itself is not enough to comment on about a threat. With the other evidence and the things we are gathering, that is where we can combine it all together to find evidence of a threat there," said Sheriff James Knight.
"The thing that I think is reassuring in all of this was the extremely quick action and committment on the part of law enforcement and the sheriff's department to come out immediately after they were notified, to work during the night, and to resolve the situation to a point that we feel like the danger element has been contained," said George Thigpen, Edgecombe County superintendent.
Deputies were at the school Monday morning as a precaution. Counselors were made available to students, as well.
School officials said that the student did the right thing by speaking to an adult about a possible threat, and that other students should follow that example.
"That was a prime example of when parents get involved and work along with the school system what can happen. I really believe they stopped a potentially dangerous situation," Knight said.