Rumors of new threat lead to more officers at 2 Cherokee schools

Rumors of new threat lead to more officers at 2 Cherokee schools

  • Story Highlights
  • The rumors surfaced less than 24 hours after the sheriff said his agency prevented a “Columbine-type incident.”
  • Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley face attempted murder and other charges in connection with the earlier threat...
  • Officials planned extra police presence for Friday night’s Etowah High School football game.

Additional officers were at two Cherokee County schools Friday after rumors of another threat against Etowah High School surfaced overnight on social media, the district said.

“While (the rumors) contain misinformation that casts doubt on their credibility,” the district said in a letter to parents, “police are investigating and, in an abundance of caution, additional police officers will be present at the Etowah High/E.T. Booth Middle campus (Friday).”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained a copy of the letter Friday morning from district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby.

“We take the safety and security of our students and staff seriously,” the district said in the letter. “Anyone with information about a possible threat is asked to call police.” 

The rumors surfaced less than 24 hours after Cherokee Sheriff Frank Reynolds said investigators prevented what would have been a “Columbine-type incident” if two Etowah students had followed through with their plans. 

Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley, both 17, were arrested earlier this week on attempted murder charges and other charges after allegedly threatening students, staff members and the campus itself.

“Police still are investigating” the new threat, Jacoby told the AJC late Friday afternoon. “We’ll continue the increased police presence at tonight’s football game” against Walton.

Jacoby said absences of 29 percent at Etowah and 12 percent at E.T. Booth on Friday were “higher than usual.

“We expected an increase based on it being homecoming coupled with anxiety following this week’s arrests,” she said.

School district officials haven’t made a determination about the security situation for Monday.

Dupree, of Acworth, and McCurley, of Woodstock, each face three counts of criminal attempt to commit murder and four counts of making terroristic threats and acts. They also face charges of criminal attempt to commit arson and possession or transportation of a destructive device or explosive intending to kill, injure or destroy any public building. 

The two juniors, who will be tried as adults, were denied bond during their first court appearances Thursday.

Victoria McCurley (left), Alfred Dupree (Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office)

— Staff writer Ellen Eldridge contributed to this article.

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