‘Was I surprised? Certainly’: School staff recall former student Michael Brown, now wanted for murder

Brown graduated from Franklin County High School in 2015

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – While authorities search for Michael Brown in Roanoke, some people who remember him at his old high school are shocked he’s at the center of a manhunt.

Michael Brown, who is wanted on suspicion of killing his mother’s boyfriend in rural Franklin County during the weekend, graduated from Franklin County High School in 2015.

“It’s always shocking when you hear something as awful and as disturbing as that," said Franklin County High School Principal Jon Crutchfield. "You hate that it happened in our county, but you also hate that it’s one of our graduates as well. Was I surprised? Certainly.”

Crutchfield remembered Brown as an average student who did not stand out among the 2,000 students who attended Franklin County High School at the time. He said Brown did not participate in many activities, except for the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Brown, who later became a Marine, spent all four years of high school in the ROTC program.

“There have been conversations. Teachers are all recalling him,” Crutchfield said. “Some taught him, some knew him, that kind of thing. Certainly, tensions are a little higher today based on the events that happened in Roanoke earlier.”

Franklin County High School did not close school on Thursday as a precaution like Roanoke City Schools did. However, Crutchfield said the school tried to keep students inside for safety reasons.

Crutchfield said this is a day he and his staff will remember for all of the wrong reasons.

“Certainly, this one of the most catastrophic ones," Crutchfield said. "When you read about one of your students on CNN, you think, ‘Oh wow, what is that?’ It’s one of the most memorable in a negative light, I would say.”