Charleston High School Student Arrested After Lockdown

Published 02/24 2012 06:49PM

Updated 02/24 2012 06:58PM

CHARLESTON -- Friday morning the high school went on lockdown after someone called 911 and reported a gunman in the building.  The school said a student admitted to making both phone calls and police later arrested them.

"All of us thought it was a drill because they never said what it was," explained Sophomore Ashley Purcell.  "My teacher comes in and says it's not a drill someone really called and we were really freaking out."

The school said around 8:45 a.m. it was notified that someone called 911 from the high school to report someone had a gun in the building. Immediately the school administrators put the school on on lockdown. 

Principal Diane Hutchins said teachers turned off the lights, locked the doors and kept students away from the windows.

"I was scared to death, I have two boys in there that mean a lot to me," said Kathleen Reuter.  She was on her way to drop her daughter off to a pre-school program at the school when she noticed all the squad cars.

The Charleston Police Department, EIU Police, Coles County Sheriff's Office, and state police searched the school for a gunman or any weapons in the building.

"The cops came in searching everyone and then maybe about an hour later, they said everything was fine and nothing was found," said Purcell. 

The district said classes went back to normal, but at 11:32 a.m. officers were back in the building with their firearms after a second call came in.

"Following a quick investigation by our administration and the Charleston Police Department, a student admitted to making both 911 calls," explained Superintendent Jim Littleford.

Throughout the day parents picked up their kids.  Some parents said they wished the district told them more information because the rumor mill had started rolling and no one knew what was going on.
"One of the issues that we deal with is that we didn't know if this was really a founded call or not and so we hate to release information not knowing what the situation is," explained Littleford.

Police said they're still investigating and questioning the student.

The district did send out and automated message and an email to parents letting them know what happened.

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