The Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI is now involved in the investigation into who sent an email to Central High School principal Joey Vaughn indicating that a gunman could be on campus Wednesday afternoon.
The Manchester Police Department, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department are all involved in the investigation with the FBI.
A person of interest, whose name is not being released, has been questioned by authorities but appears to be cleared of any wrongdoing, according to sources close to the investigation.
The investigation comes after all schools in the Coffee County System were placed on lockdown Wednesday after Central High School principal Joey Vaughn received an email indicating that a gunman could be on campus, said Coffee County Director of Schools Dr. LaDonna McFall.
Once the threat was received, Central High School was placed on full lockdown and, because the threat didn’t indicate a specific campus, the county’s six elementary schools and one middle school were placed on a modified lockdown. Police officers were also dispatched to each school, according to McFall.
“We have locked down the schools and police are at every school,” McFall said shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday. The lockdown was lifted at approximately 2:20 p.m.
After the lockdown was lifted Vaughn deferred comment to McFall and McFall deferred further comment to law enforcement.
Manchester police did release a statement on its Facebook page at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday saying that a person of interest was being questioned and that the threat appears to have originated from Rutherford County.
The Facebook post reads:
“The lockdown of Coffee County Central High School and modified lockdown of other Coffee County Schools was lifted about 2:20 p.m. today (Wednesday). According to Coffee County Director of Schools, Dr. LaDonna McFall, an email was received stating there was a possibility of a man with a gun on campus. No specific campus was mentioned. As a proactive measure, all county schools were put on lockdown. The email appeared to originate from Rutherford County and a person of interest is being questioned. The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and City of Manchester Police Department are investigating this ongoing situation”
The Manchester City Schools system, which consists of three campuses, was made aware of the situation but elected not to place its schools on lockdown. Director of Manchester Schools Dr. Keith Brewer said the district monitored the situation closely.
“When we get a call like this, we determine if the situation is one that we need to go on alert or on a full lockdown,” said Brewer.