Law probes threatening call; Co-Lin building evacuated

Published 6:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2002

WESSON – Law enforcement authorities were called toCopiah-Lincoln Community Wednesday afternoon following a bombthreat at the school. No devices were found, but an investigationis continuing, officials said.

Co-Lin President Dr. Howell Garner said the bomb threat wascalled in to the campus police station around 12:30 p.m. The callermentioned the cafeteria and the grill, which were then evacuatedalong with the counseling center that is above the cafeteria in theHenley Building, Garner said, adding that the caller had whatsounded like a male voice.

Axel Bickel, a Claiborne County sheriff’s deputy who owns a bombdetection dog, said nothing was found following a search of thearea.

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“We went through the entire cafeteria and grill,” Bickelsaid.

Garner said the call may have come from a disgruntled studentwho was upset over an academic situation. He and other authoritiesalso mentioned the possibility of the call being a prank or someone”just wanting to have fun.”

“It’s one of those things you don’t take any chances on,” Garnersaid about school action following the threat. “You have to checkit out.”

Marcus Kinds, a freshman from Natchez, was in the grill whenschool officials ordered it evacuated. As Kinds mingled withfriends outside the Co-Lin Police Department, he said the situationwas scary and brought to mind memories of the recent sniperactivity in the Washington, D.C., area.

“I thought it was a tornado drill or something, but they said itwas a bomb threat,” Kinds said.

Officials from Copiah County Sheriff’s Department, CivilDefense, and Wesson Police and Fire Departments responded to theschool. Authorities were on the scene until around 5 p.m.Wednesday.

As authorities discussed the situation, another call came intoCo-Lin police around 2:50 p.m. The caller said he was looking atthe authorities, and officers then started searching several nearbybuildings.

Copiah Sheriff Frank Ainsworth said the calls were made from acellular telephone. Authorities were trying to trace them to thesource.

“It’s hard to run down these cell phone numbers,” saidAinsworth, indicating, however, that he thought law enforcementwould find a suspect. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Garner said several students had been questioned about thecalls.

“We’re pursuing whatever leads we’ve got at this point,” Garnersaid. “We’re going to do whatever we can to catch him.”