Lawrence Young said he was in a math class at Campbell High School in Smyrna just after 2 p.m. Monday when an alarm started sounding.
At first, he said, his classmates continued on as if nothing was happening.
Then, an officer rushed into the room holding an AK-47.
“I ran to the back of the class,” the 15-year-old told AJC.com. “The officer was like, ‘This is real.’”
The school was placed on “Code Red” lockdown for more than an hour as authorities searched for who made a threat “via walkie talkie,” Cobb County police spokeswoman Officer Sarah O’Hara told Channel 2 Action News in a statement. Officials did not elaborate, but Channel 2 reported that police confirmed it was a shooting threat.
The lockdown was lifted after three students were detained, according to school officials. No one was injured.
“All Campbell students and staff are safe,” Cobb County School District officials said in a text alert to parents. “Suspects have been apprehended.”
The Cobb County School District issued a statement: "Administrators learned of a rumor of a threat made on campus at Campbell High School. After a thorough investigation by the Cobb County School Police and Smyrna Police Department, three persons have been detained,” spokeswoman Nan Kiel said.
There will be no criminal charges for the three students, Channel 2 reported, but they may face disciplinary action. The school system said no weapons were found.
Young’s mother, April Washington, said he told her he was locked in a classroom. That immediately brought back bad memories.
“Columbine came rushing back,” she said.
Washington worked at the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in 1999 when two students set off explosives and shot 12 fellow students and a teacher to death at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
Young said one of his friends in another part of the school sent a note Monday that someone no one recognized had been in class with them. That person was carrying a duffel bag.
Young said the class gathered in a corner of the room, listening to loud banging and the squeaking of shoes in the hallway.
“That’s when I realized this is not a joke, we really could have been killed,” he said.
A red light on the ceiling started flashing, then an administrator came by and told the class where Cindy Yamilet was to close the door. The senior and the other 15 students in her class pushed a bookshelf up against the door.
“I started having so much anxiety because I was scared and confused,” the 17-year-old said.
For 40 minutes, she said, they stayed quiet. At one point, an administrator came to shake the door to make sure they’d done what they were supposed to do.
She texted her father to let him know what was going on, but he already knew.
Another 15-year-old sophomore, who did not want to use his name, said he was in geometry class when everything went on lockdown. They quickly realized something was different.
“The mood went from ‘it’s probably a drill’ to ‘well, crap, we’re gonna get shot,’ ” he said.
At 2:30 p.m., he tweeted: “School has active shooter, police officer busted into my classroom and pointed an AK at me. No idea what’s happening.”
He said it was about 30 minutes before police came into his classroom in the 100 hall of the school. He said he believed the “intruder” was in the 900 hall, “so it makes sense that they took time sweeping down to here.”
The student said he was glad everyone was safe, but “it was just hard on (my) nerves.”
Senior Rayniqua Christopher told Channel 2, “It was really a scary moment when we thought we were gonna die.”
— Staff writer Lauren Colley contributed to this article.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.