ATLANTA – A Georgia high school student was arrested Thursday after the school was placed on lockdown and people at nearby Emory University were told to shelter in place because of reports of a possible armed suspect.
DeKalb County School District police Chief Bradley Gober said at a news conference that the student, who is a minor, was arrested just before 4 p.m. and will be charged with aggravated assault and carrying a gun in a school safety zone, news outlets reported.
Other students went to the principal's office at Druid Hills High School to report that they thought the student had a gun. Officers searched the high school's campus but didn't find the student, leading them to believe the student had left campus.
Emory police found the student on the university campus after searching for hours, news outlets reported.
DeKalb County school system spokesman Donald Porter said in an email that the school was placed on lockdown around 10:40 a.m. “out of an abundance of caution due to a report of an unsafe situation.” He added that the lockdown “did not result from an active situation.”
School system and county police were onsite throughout the lockdown, which was lifted at around 12:10 p.m., Porter said.
Maia Higgins, 16, said that when the school went into lockdown she and other students had to stay in their classrooms. Principal Mark Joyner announced over the public address system that it was a “level 2” lockdown, which Higgins took to mean there was some type of threat but no active shooter.
Higgins said a photo of a student with a handgun had circulated on social media. It was not known whether the photo was connected to the lockdown.
According to the local news website Decaturish, Joyner also sent a notification to parents about the situation.
“We are currently under a Level 2 lockdown due to a report that an unauthorized individual was seen on campus,” Joyner wrote. “DeKalb Schools Public Safety Department is assisting to ensure that all individuals on campus are authorized to be here. All students and staff are safe at this time.”
In a tweet at about 11:40 a.m., Emory said an active shooter had been reported on the campus and that police were responding. The university later deleted that tweet and sent out another shortly after noon saying that police were on the scene at nearby Druid Hills High School. The tweet said there was a “possible armed subject” but no active shooter on the Emory campus.
Throughout the early afternoon, the university periodically put out tweets advising people on campus to continue to shelter in place. The all-clear notification was finally issued around 2:20 p.m.
The incident comes just ahead of graduation weekend at the private university, which consistently ranks among the top schools of higher education in the Southeast. The main commencement ceremony, including a speech by entertainment mogul Tyler Perry, is Monday.