Sheriff: Cabarrus County schools took appropriate action in response to threat

By: Mark Barber

Updated:

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - Channel 9 is learning more about the way a massive bomb scare was handled in Cabarrus County last week.

The county's seven public high schools were all evacuated last Thursday after detectives said a bomb threat was emailed to school board members. The message had detailed information specific to high schools, officials said.

[READ MORE: Officials' handling of Cabarrus Co. high schools bomb threat concerns parents]

Dozens of officers and deputies rushed into the schools as more than 10,000 students rushed out.

"We're very thankful that day came and went and no one was hurt,” Sheriff Brad Riley said. “It appears the threat was not credible."

Even though the scare appears to have been a false alarm, some parents are still questioning why they didn't get a call from the school district. Instead, they said they heard from their worried children. 

"I got a text from her and she said, 'Daddy they're closing the schools, I need for you to pick me up right now,'" father Jason Parker recalled. 

Other parents did receive a call, but they said it only raised more questions.

"I received a phone message from the school," mother Suzanne Parker said. "They were evacuating immediately, but they didn't give an explanation as to why."

The sheriff said parents weren't notified immediately because there were several matters that took priority.

"There's cafeteria staff, there's busing schedules and busing staff, and buses that you have to get back to these locations," said Riley.

Riley said parents weren't alerted first because his deputies and the schools were busy rushing students and staff to safety.

Channel 9's Mark Barber asked Riley if he felt he schools took the appropriate actions for the situation.

"I do,” Riley said. “Under the set of circumstances that we had here, I do think that it was appropriate."

The sheriff said he's working with federal authorities and their resources to try to identify the suspect and the reason the threat was sent.

Riley also told Channel 9 that the threat was disruptive for his deputies, because they were in the middle of trying to solve cases when their assistance was needed.

Once an arrest is made, Riley said, the suspect will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Eyewitness News reporter Mark Barber will have the latest on the school threat on Channel 9 at 6:07 p.m.

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