Student with ammo, burglary manhunt lead to separate Beaufort County school lockdowns

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 1, 2013 

Three northern Beaufort County schools were locked down for about an hour Friday morning for two unrelated incidents -- a student who brought ammunition to school and a manhunt for a burglary suspect.

Lady's Island Middle School and Beaufort Academy were locked down after a group of students was seen playing with cartridges at Lady's Island Middle.

Beaufort police charged four seventh-grade boys with disturbing school after they confiscated 17, .22-caliber rounds from one of the boys, who said he found them at his grandfather's house, Deputy Police Chief Dale McDorman said.

The student did not bring a gun. No one was injured or threatened, McDorman said.

School district protective services chief Chris Barrow said police were called after a classmate alerted a staff member about the students playing with the ammunition.

"The school did the right thing by taking the precaution and going on lockdown," Barrow said.

Beaufort Academy, which is about two miles from Lady's Island Middle, also went into lockdown for about 25 minutes as a precaution, according to a spokeswoman Bethany Byrne.

Attempts to reach Beaufort Academy officials were unsuccessful.


Whale Branch Early College High School was locked down at about 9:40 a.m. after a resident of Seabrook Road reported that two burglars broke a window and entered her home.

She called 911 from a locked bedroom, according to Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh. When deputies arrived, the suspects ran toward Detour Road, according to a news release.

A perimeter was set up and the Sheriff's Office K9 Tracking Team was brought out, McIntosh said.

Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster said the high school was placed on "modified lockdown," which means instruction continues as usual, but students are restricted from moving around outside and in halls. The lockdown ended at 10:50 a.m.

After a three-hour search, a 15-year-old boy was arrested. Friday evening, investigators were still trying to verify the identity of the second suspect, McIntosh said. It's not clear if anything was stolen from the home, she added.

Barrow said the lockdown was conducted at the request of the Sheriff's Office and the school resource officer.

Nearby Whale Branch Elementary and Middle were not put on lockdown because the suspects ran in the opposite direction of those schools, Barrow said.

Whale Branch High officials "did not believe (students) were in any danger at any time," Barrow said. "They just wanted to make sure their fields were clear of any students so the investigators could do their search."

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