Two teenagers are charged with attempted murder after law enforcement officials believe they thwarted a planned attack at school.
Two 17-year-old students, Alfred Dupree and Victory McCurley, are accused of creating an "incendiary device" that was allegedly going to be used to cause harm at Ethowah High School. Investigators said someone called in a tip to Woodstock Police on Monday. Two days later, detectives found a diary in Dupree's home containing threats against the school and against specific students and staffer. The device was found in McCurley's home.
Law enforcement was able to stop any event before it happened and those two teens are now in jail, but the bigger question is, how common are these types of threats?
11Alive dug into the numbers, and just in the past two years -- 2015 and 2016 -- there were more than 14,650 threats made in Georgia schools.
The threats break down into two categories: threat with intimidation and terroristic treat.
In the first category, school officials usually are the only ones to get involved. Basically, this is when someone threatens to do physical harm to someone verbally without showing a weapon or physically attacking the person. Our research shows that the majority of cases in Georgia fall into this first category. Within those two years, 14,322 cases were investigated.
With a terroristic threat, police usually get involved. In these cases, a person actually threatens to commit a violent crime, release a hazardous substance or burn or damage property. It is a felony crime. In 2015 and 2016, law enforcement investigated 335 reports of terroristic threats. Chatham County had the most, with 47 reports.
But Paulding County is no stranger to investigating its share of threats. Last school, year, in May, several threats were made online on walls at a few of the district's high schools. In one of those cases, a 14-year-old was arrested and charged.
Sgt. Ashley Henson is the spokesperson for the Paulding County Sheriff's Office and said it's unfortunate that these threats happen so often.
"A lot of times, these potential threats turn out to be nothing, because one child heard or saw something and they heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else. It's like the game of telephone," he said. "But I think the moral of the story is, you have to act quickly and try to and find out where the source is and investigate that as quickly as possible."
Henson said social media has something to do with it -- they're the reason more and more of the threats are being seen. In some cases, kids will admit that it was a joke and they didn't mean it. Regardless, law enforcement and school officials have to take all of the cases seriously, because they never know when they could become credible.
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