Call prompts lockdown at Gretna Middle School


GRETNA, Va. – The Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office is working to determine if a series of calls made Tuesday are the reason for a lockdown at Gretna Middle School.

About 12:50 p.m., school officials informed the school resource office of what they believed was a threat communicated to school staff.

Officials told the SRO that a man called the school and said he was on the way there with an assault rifle.

The school was then placed on lockdown, and law enforcement officers from the Sheriff's Office, Gretna Police Department and Virginia State Police responded to both Gretna Middle and Gretna High School.

Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the call came from someone in Roanoke. However, after talking with the man, the Sheriff's Office says the call was about the man's child, who attended the school, and no threat was communicated.

The caller had learned his child was not in attendance on Tuesday and was questioning the child’s absence.

Prior to this call, the caller’s estranged wife called the school as well. 

Investigators now are attempting to determine the exact conversations of these calls to determine if the alleged threat was communicated. 

Preliminary investigations show the man identified in the Roanoke area never left his home.

The Sheriff's Office says no students were in harm’s way during the investigation and the school remained in lockdown throughout. 

There was one arrest incidental to the matter, according to the Sheriff's Office.

A man attempted to enter the school during the lockdown, and for disobeying the investigator’s instructions to not attempt to enter the school, he was arrested for disorderly conduct and later released, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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