North Surry High School and Gentry Middle School were put into lockdown Tuesday morning amid reports of a suspected gunman in the area.
The report turned out to be erroneous — the suspected gunman turned out to be an unarmed pedestrian walking in the area — and the schools were released from lockdown after about a half-hour.
The call came into the Surry County communication center at 9:17 a.m. after a motorist traveling N.C. 89 passed a man who they thought to be carrying a gun, according to Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson.
The schools were placed under immediate lockdown, at approximately 9:20 a.m. by the Surry County Sheriff”s Office. Sonia Dickerson, director of communications for Surry County Schools, confirmed the lockdown as she was at North Surry High School at the time.
Officers were dispatched to both schools, along with officers who searched for the alleged gunman. After a brief search the individual was found and questioned by sheriff’s office personnel and it was found that he presented no threat to the schools or community.
“He was just walking the road,” said Atkinson. The man was not armed.
Following the determination, both schools were released from lockdown after about 30 minutes, according to Dickerson.
At no point in time were students in any harm or danger, both Atkinson and Dickerson said.
“Since safety of children is always our priority, we set our safety protocols into motion to protect our students and staff. Even though it was determined that the individual was not a threat, the system worked,” said Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves.
Reeves expressed his gratitude to the sheriff’s office for their immediate response to the call placed by the citizen. “I am proud to live in a community where people care about one another and about our students.”
Surry County Schools used social media to communicate with parents and the general public. Principals sent a Black Board message to parents so they would be reassured students were never in danger, according to Reeves.
“I want to thank our students, staff, and parents for working with us today,” stated Reeves.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @MtAiryNewsEva