53ºF

Covington parent concerned for suspect who had 'hit list' of peers, employees

Rivermont School student faces felony, misdemeanor charges

ROANOKE, Va.- – Questions linger after deputies say a student at the Rivermont School created what they call a hit list. 

It included names of students and teachers from Alleghany, Covington and Rockbridge schools.

For as long as it's needed, there's extra law enforcement presence at all schools in Alleghany County and Covington as a precaution. 

"We notified all the students parents they were on the list. Both here in Covington and Rockbridge, as well. That was very important because of safety for us is our No. 1 priority," said Eugene Kotulka, superintendent, Alleghany County Public Schools.

The list contained the names of students and employees at various schools plus the name of an Alleghany County sheriff's deputy. 

"It does shake up that law enforcement officer's family for a while," said Matthew Bowser, chief deputy. 

Michael Griffith said his son attends Rivermont with the suspect. 

"I'm very close with the family and I know the student personally," said Griffith. 

His son's name was on the list. 

"I was very upset at first and very concerned but once I talked to the individual's family and I found out who it was then my heart went out to that child," said Griffith.  

Despite that, Griffith says people don't need to be so quick to judge the suspect's situation. 

"I believe it was a a cry for help that he didn't get last week. It was his final cry for help that he really needed help," said Griffith.  

The possibility of the student returning to school is still up in the air.

"There will be a joint team discussion on how to proceed further,"

Authorities are glad they were able to stop this situation before someone go hurt. 

"If you hear something, say something. It might save a life," said Bowser. 

The student now faces two charges, communicating a written threat to kill and disorderly conduct. The first is a felony, while the second, is a misdemeanor.

The Sheriff's Office won't reveal if the hit list was written or online or how authorities were tipped off about its existence.

The Rivermont School operates under Centra Health. Centra sent 10 News a response to the situation:

Safety of our staff and students is our top priority. Administration will take the precautions necessary to protect its staff and students.


 


About the Author:

Irisha Jones

Irisha joined the WSLS news team in January 2017 after spending four years as a reporter in Georgia.

Note to users: Comments on WSLS.com are migrating over to our new website. All comments before 11/12/19 at 12 p.m. will be temporarily blank until the migration is complete. All past conversations will be restored. New comments can be posted now. Questions? Contact news@wsls.com.