School placed on lockdown

February 20, 2014

Staff report

West Rockingham Elementary School was placed on lockdown early Wednesday afternoon after the sound of gunshots were reported nearby.

The lockdown lasted for about 15 minutes, during which deputies from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office determined that a local resident was conducting target practice at their home.

Mallory Brown, public relations director for Richmond County Schools, said parents were notified via the AlertNow phone messaging system Wednesday afternoon. The message was sent again Thursday morning, Brown said in an email to The Daily Journal, because “some people were having trouble receiving it.”

Brown noted that student safety is a priority for school officials and that “no one was harmed during the lockdown procedure.”

Mark Gulledge, chief deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, said no one was arrested in the incident — that a person located during the investigation conducting target practice “was doing so in a safe manner, which is legal outside the city limits, as he was.”

No one was injured in the incident.

“We had deputies respond directly to the school itself as our protocol (dictates),” Gulledge said, “while other (law enforcement officers) began checking the area.”